Asia Cup 2022: “Aap bol rahe ho KL bhai ko nahi khilana chahiye?”

Team India batter Suryakumar Yadav has backed struggling opener KL Rahul over his poor recent returns. He pointed out that the team’s vice-captain has only just returned from injury and might need some time to find his groove.

Rahul scored 36 runs in the Asia Cup 2022 match against Hong Kong in Dubai on Wednesday (August 31). However, he needed 39 balls for the same, and did not look in good rhythm during his stay at the crease.

India were 94 for 2 after 13 overs when Rahul was dismissed by Mohammad Ghazanfar. It needed a smashing 68 not out off 26 balls from Suryakumar to lift the side to an imposing total.

At a press conference following the match, the batter was asked if he would be seen opening the innings as part of Team India’s experiments. The 31-year-old cheekily replied:

“(Smiles) Aap bol rahe ho ke KL bhai ko nahi khilana chahiye? (So you mean to say that KL should be dropped?).”

While throwing his weight behind Rahul, Suryakumar asserted that he is willing to bat at any position that suits the team. He said:

“He (Rahul) is coming back from injury, he also needs some time. We have some time right now. As far as I am concerned, I have always said that I am very flexible to bat at any number. I have told the coach and captain that make me bat at any number, but just play me.”

On the topic of experiments, he added:

“Things will go on. There are a lot of things we are also trying. Instead of doing it at practice, it is better to try those things during a match. We will get a better idea, so we will see how it goes.”

Suryakumar also backed young Indian pacer Avesh Khan, who has had an inconsistent time with the ball. Asked about the youngster’s bowling performance, he commented:

“I don’t think he has had been having bad matches. He recently got a man of the match. Both (Avesh and Arshdeep Singh) are bowling well; there are off-days at times. I feel everyone is in a good space and doing well.”

Both Avesh and Arshdeep were expensive against Hong Kong. While the former conceded 53 runs in his four overs, the latter went for 44.

“Was good to see Rishabh in playing XI” – Suryakumar Yadav

Team India made one change to their playing for Wednesday’s match. All-rounder Hardik Pandya was rested, allowing Rishabh Pant to come into the playing XI. Asked about the move, SKY replied:

“That is the team management’s call. I am neither the captain nor the vice-captain. These questions should be asked to them. But, it was good to see Rishabh in playing XI. Everything is fine. All good.”

Pant did not get to bat as Suryakumar and Virat Kohli (59* off 44) added an unbroken 98 for the third wicket against Hong Kong. India won the game by 40 runs to confirm their Super 4 berth.

Edited by Renin Wilben Albert

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