Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra advised Punjab Kings (PBKS) skipper, KL Rahul, to drop the burden of carrying the batting lineup and focus on playing more freely. Instead, Rahul has been playing the role of the anchor, mostly because the PBKS middle-order is extremely fragile.
Nicholas Pooran is severely out of form, while Deepak Hooda has been a shade of his first-leg self. With Chris Gayle having taken a break due to the bio-bubble fatigue, Rahul has taken the responsibility of guiding the innings. However, this hasn’t helped his strike rate, and Chopra wants Rahul to shed this slow version of himself.
“Rahul, please play freely. What’s happening is that other batsmen are not making runs, so Rahul is getting slow. It’s their problem if they are not making runs. You play the way you do because 52-ball 62 runs (55-ball 67) is not who you are. You still need to push the game a little more.”
“You cannot compromise. If you are the best player, it doesn’t mean you should be penalized to become the anchor. If Virender Sehwag is the team’s best player, you can’t ask him to play much like Aakash Chopra. No, it’s wrong because you are much better than that,” Chopra elaborated.
“I don’t understand Rahul’s captaincy much, to be fair” – Aakash Chopra
Chopra went on to state that the captaincy in IPL has changed. Particularly that of Rahul, who is constantly under the cosh for the bowling changes he makes. The PBKS management is also under the scanner most of the time. Chopra further mentioned that PBKS should finish the game early instead of taking it till the final over.
“Think a bit more about bowling changes when a left-hander comes in to bat. You have Markam and Hooda who can bowl, but you don’t try them. I don’t understand Rahul’s captaincy much, to be fair. There are a lot of captains like that now. But you can win even without entertainment, and that is something that you need to remind everyone,” Chopra concluded.
PBKS face off against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the day game on Sunday. A victory will seal the playoff spot for RCB, while PBKS will most likely be knocked out in that scenario.