World Cup 2023: Why KL Rahul is the key in Indian middle-order?

KL Rahul's record on Indian soil is top-notch.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. (Image Credits: Twitter)

KL Rahul has been one of the highly-rated batters for Team India across all formats of the game. However, he has never been able to unlock his full potential all the time owing to inconsistency and dip in form. At the same time, injuries also put a big dent in KL Rahul‘s career thwarting him from marking his presence in some key fixtures for Team India.

The Bengaluru-born cricketer made his ODI debut for India against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club in 2016. It is worth mentioning here that he turned up the ante on his debut match and scored an unbeaten 100* off 115 balls. Thus, he etched his name into record books by becoming the first Indian to score a century on his ODI debut.

Needless to say, Team India have not used him quite often in the 50-overs set-up. Ever since KL Rahul’s debut, India have played 128 ODIs. However, Rahul has been involved in the ODI set-up on only 50 occasions. Team India have had plenty of issues in the middle-order department, a big crack that they have been trying to fix for quite a long time.

As an opener, KL Rahul scored 915 runs at an average of 43.57 (3 centuries and 6 fifties) in 23 innings. Even without him, India’s top order has always been resilient but the middle order had long been facing issues and looked so fragile. Notably, KL Rahul has enjoyed batting in the middle order and his performances suggest the same.

KL Rahul’s stats in the middle order suggests he should be a regular feature for India in ODIs

Batting PositionInningsNot Out100s50s0sHighest Score Total runsAverageStrike-rate
47110110824140.1780.87
518417011274253.0099.33

In high-stakes tournaments like the ICC ODI World Cup, teams often find themselves in pressure situations, particularly during the latter stages of the tournament. As a result, it is important for India to experiment with KL Rahul in the middle order quite often to bring the best out of him. KL Rahul has got a terrific batting record at No.4 and 5 for India in ODIs.

The 31-year-old scored 241 runs at an average of 40.17 at No.4. On the other hand, he unleashed his full potential batting at No.5 by scoring 742 runs. Notably, he averages 53 in the 18 innings at a terrific strike rate of over 100. KL Rahul has done exceedingly well at No.5. He could be a potent weapon for India going forward in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023.

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The marquee event is just two months away from getting underway. There is not much time left for the Indian team management to chop and change strategy. KL Rahul’s last ODI appearance came against Australia in March 2023. He sustained a thigh injury during the IPL 2023 season. As a result, he had to skip the ICC World Test Championship 2023 final.

However, he underwent surgery and shared pictures of himself walking around on crutches. The cricketer was recently seen sweating it out at NCA. The right-handed batter is highly likely to make a stellar rebound for the highly-anticipating fixture against Pakistan on September 2 at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

Read More: List of KL Rahul Centuries in Tests, ODIs, T20Is and IPL