K.L. Rahul: My batting position will vary depending on the format

In his maiden outing as a keeper batting at No. 5 against Australia, in Rajkot, Rahul slammed a 52-ball 80. India's limited-overs vice captain weighed in on his batting position and his role in the squad.

KL Rahul: I have never got a long run like this [in ODIs], so it feels good to be able to contribute and put up consistent performances for my team.   -  AP

With Rohit Sharma set to miss the limited-overs leg of the Australia tour, recovering from a hamstring injury, India will depend on KL Rahul in the batting department. But while coming to bat at one down or opening the batting is a role Rahul has been familiar with, he insists his batting position will vary depending on the format.

"It will depend on the formats, what the team wants of me and what combination sits better... The last ODI series we played, I batted at No. 5 and kept wickets, so yeah that's a role that I quite enjoyed," Rahul said in an online media interaction on Wednesday.

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Rishabh Pant's omission from the limited-overs squads means Rahul, named vice-captain in Rohit's absence, is currently the first-choice white-ball wicketkeeper; a responsibility he first undertook in January this year when Australia visited India. In his maiden outing as a keeper, batting at No. 5 against Australia, in Rajkot, Rahul slammed a quickfire 80 off just 52 deliveries.

He continued in a similar vein in New Zealand, where batting at the same position, he hit 88 off 64 in Hamilton and 112 off 113 in Mount Maunganui.

Asked if he was entrusted with the gloves, keeping in mind the two back-to-back World T20s, Rahul said, "Nothing has been conveyed to me [by the selectors]. We, as a team, aren't thinking that far. World cups are very important and that is the long vision for every team.

But for me, it's about taking one game at a time, and if I keep putting up consistent performances with the bat and the gloves, it gives us the option of playing an extra bowler or a batter."

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Rahul credited the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, where he led the Kings XI Punjab, for helping him juggle his many roles.

"I learnt from the IPL to stay in the moment... when I am batting, I think like a batter, assess the conditions and see how as a batter, I can win the game. When I am keeping, it is important I switch on as a keeper and not keep thinking as a leader. That's going to be the key going ahead for me. I share a decent understanding with Yuzi (Chahal), Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) and Kuldeep Yadav and will probably give them feedback about what I feel is a better length or pace to bowl. Hopefully, I can get better at reading the game and give good feedback to the bowlers and the captain."

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