State's K L Rahul makes Test debut

State's K L Rahul makes Test debut

K L Rahul became the second Indian player to make a Test debut on this tour after the 22-year-old was included in the starting 11 for the Boxing Day Test here on Friday.

Earlier, Karn Sharma made his debut in the first Test at Adelaide.

The indications were apparent during India’s two practice sessions ahead of the third Test although India, as is their wont, kept things under wraps until the last minute. Rahul was having extended bat in the “nets” and was often seen being counselled by Team Director Ravi Shastri and coach Duncan Fletcher.

While the suspense was whether Rahul would replace Shikhar Dhawan, the team management chose to axe an out-of-sorts Rohit Sharma to accommodate the Karnataka batsman. This means, Rahul would be batting at No 6 instead of his regular opening slot that he has made his own in the State side.

While he would have preferred to bat at the top of the order, Rahul should take inspiration from his more illustrious State-mate Rahul Dravid, who batted at No 7 on his debut in 1996 instead of his customary No 3 and scored 95.

And not unlike Dravid, who was handed his Test cap at the fabled Lord’s, the younger Rahul makes his debut at another iconic venue – the Melbourne Cricket Ground. That skipper M S Dhoni handed over the cap would have made the moment that much more special for the youngster.

Rahul, who had top-scored with 1033 runs in Karnataka’s triumphant Ranji campaign, was on the selectors’ radar and convinced them of his credentials with back-to-back centuries (185, 130) in the Duleep Trophy final for South Zone against Central.

The comparisons with Dravid are going to tail Rahul not just because he shares the same name and plays for the same State but also because he is rated to come as good as the former India captain. While it’s a huge compliment Rahul also realises the enormity of the responsibility.  “It (the comparison) makes me happy for a while but then it’s a big responsibility as well,” Rahul had told Deccan Herald in an interview.

“You know when people are comparing you to Rahul Dravid, they also expect you to match the standards he has set. They want someone from Karnataka to go and play like him; make it as big and make the State proud. On my part, I make sure I work hard and try to learn from him; try and match the work ethics he followed,” he had remarked.

With great work ethic and a mature head on his shoulders, there is no reason why the right-hander shouldn’t make it as big.

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