Launching a scathing attack on KL Rahul, former pacer Venkatesh Prasad ripped into Team India’s think tank, accusing captain Rohit Sharma, head coach Rahul Dravid, and the national selectors for shielding the vice-captain’s place in the side despite a string of poor scores across formats.
Venkatesh Prasad’s shocking remarks against KL Rahul came after the latter failed again, this time in the first Test against Australia in Nagpur, which ended in a comprehensive victory for the hosts.
While captain Rohit Sharma struck a century, his opening partner KL Rahul looked circumspect in the middle, with his conservative approach leading to his downfall, as debutant Australian spinner Todd Murphy had him caught and bowled for a score of 20.
This was KL Rahul’s fifth consecutive score of less than 25 following his four failures against Bangladesh in December. In two Test matches in Bangladesh, KL Rahul managed to put up scores of 22, 23, 10, and 2.
“I have a lot of regard for KL Rahul’s talent and ability, but sadly his performances have been well below par. A test average of 34 after 46 tests and more than 8 years in international cricket is ordinary. Can’t think of many who have been given so many chances. Especially when there are so many waiting in the wings & in top form. Shubman Gill is in sublime form, Sarfaraz has been scoring tons in FC cricket and many who deserve a chance ahead of Rahul. Some are just lucky to be given chances endlessly till they succeed while some aren’t allowed to,” Venkatesh Prasad tweeted.
“And to make matters worse, Rahul is the designated vice-captain. Ashwin has a great cricketing brain, should be the vice captain in the Test format. If not him should be Pujara or Jadeja. Mayank Agarwal had a far better impact than Rahul in Tests and so did Vihari,” The former India bowling coach added.
“Rahul’s selection is not based on performance but favouritism . Has been consistently inconsistent and for someone who has been around for 8 years not converted potential into performances,” Venkatesh Prasad continued.
In his no-holds-barred rant, Venkatesh Prasad even slammed former cricketers who he claimed were not harsh in criticizing KL Rahul because he was the captain of an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise and these experts were worried about losing out on contracts if they blasted the skipper of the Lucknow Super Giants.
“One of the reasons why many ex-cricketers aren’t vocal despite seeing such favouritism is the chances of losing out on potential IPL gigs. They wouldn’t want to rub the captain of a franchisee wrong way,as in today’s age most people like yes men and blind approvers. Often well wishers are your best critics but times have changed & people don’t want to be told truth,” Venkatesh Prasad wrote in another tweet.
Venkatesh Prasad’s stinging attack on KL Rahul came at a time when in-form Shubman Gill was made to sit out because the former was preferred as an opener over the latter for the Test match in Vidarbha.
Notably, Shubman Gill has been in imperious form across formats and has broken a slew of records in recent days.
Earlier, this month, at 23 years and 146 days, Shubman Gill became the youngest men’s player to score hundreds in all three forms of cricket.
He also joined a select band of Indian players who have made hundreds across all formats. Before him, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, and KL Rahul were the only Indians to reach the milestone.
Moreover, Gill is the youngest Indian batter to hit a T20I hundred, going past Suresh Raina’s previous mark, who achieved the landmark in 23 years and 156 days.
In January, Shubman Gill matched Babar Azam’s record of scoring the most runs in a three-match ODI series.
With scores of 208, 40, and 112, the 23-year-old cricketer notched 360 runs in three games against the Tom Latham-led side, thus putting himself on par with Babar Azam.
Previously, Shubman Gill became the youngest player to hit a double hundred in One-Day Internationals (ODIs).
The Punjab-born cricket star’s feat came against New Zealand in Hyderabad after he played a stunning knock, scoring 208 runs off just 149 balls.
Before him, the record was held by Ishan Kishan who had smashed a double century at the age of 24 years and 145 days against Bangladesh last month.
He’s the fifth Indian to achieve the milestone after Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, and Ishan Kishan.
He broke Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan’s records to become the quickest Indian to thousand runs in ODIs as well.
Shubman Gill with his hundred at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, made it to the landmark in 19 matches while both Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan needed 24 games to reach there.
Gill also scored his first Test hundred against Bangladesh in December.
Despite such accolades, Shubman Gill wasn’t named in the playing XI for the first Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy, and KL Rahul was picked ahead of him.