“The players selected need a leader like KL Rahul” – Suresh Raina on LSG skipper captaining Team India in the T20I series vs South Africa

Suresh Raina believes the presence of KL Rahul as skipper for the upcoming T20I series against South Africa will help the players chosen in the Indian squad.

Team India will face the visiting Proteas side in a five-match T20I series, with the first game to be played on June 9. With Rohit Sharma taking a break, Rahul has been given the reins of the 18-member Indian squad.

During a discussion on the Star Sports show ‘Game Plan’, Raina was asked about his views on Rahul’s captaincy. He replied:

“He has looked very calm and composed as a captain in recent times and the players selected need a leader like KL Rahul. There is Kuldeep (Yadav) and Chahal, both will play together.”

The former India cricketer added that Rahul’s presence will bring the required calmness to a side that has a few newcomers and returning veterans. Raina explained:

“There are new fast bowlers – Umran Malik, the way he has bowled, and then Arshdeep. Both Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik, whose performance has been very good in the IPL, will also be there. So I feel his (Rahul’s) presence will bring calmness and the South African players are also good, so it will be a very good contest.”

Rahul will be captaining Team India for the first time in a T20I series. He will be looking for his first win as skipper at international level, having suffered defeats in the one Test and three ODIs he has captained thus far.

“The clarity would have been given” – Irfan Pathan on the template Team India needs to follow under KL Rahul’s captaincy

KL Rahul and Rahul Dravid will hope to extend Team India's unbeaten run in T20I cricket
KL Rahul and Rahul Dravid will hope to extend Team India’s unbeaten run in T20I cricket

Irfan Pathan was asked if it would be important for the selectors and the team management to have told Rahul the template that Team India would like to follow at the World Cup. He responded:

“It is extremely necessary and the clarity would have been given. I have been saying that since Rahul Dravid has come as a coach, I have played under his captaincy, his biggest thing is the clarity of role.”

The former India all-rounder believes Rahul Dravid would have given Rahul a clear definition of the role he is expected to form. Pathan elaborated:

“It is not that the earlier coaches have not done that, Ravi Shastri was there and Virat Kohli was captaining, but he (Dravid) will take it one step ahead. I have full belief the communication would have happened and KL Rahul would have been told that if he is the captain, it means he is the next in line.”

Pathan concluded by stating that Rahul has shown a marked improvement in his captaincy during IPL 2022 and he will be expected to carry on in the same vein as he led the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG).

Also Read: “How they perform for India will matter” – Suresh Raina on the importance of T20Is vs South Africa for Team India’s World Cup plans

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Edited by Samya Majumdar