IPL 2019: Gayle believes fellow KXIP opener KL Rahul can be India's long-term batting mainstay

Sudhir Gupta 09:35 30/04/2019
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KXIP openers Gayle and Rahul. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Chris Gayle has lauded his Kings XI Punjab opening partner KL Rahul and believes that the right-handed batsman can serve Indian cricket for a long time to come.

Rahul had a disappointing 2018 in India colours with the Karnataka-born batsman having a dismal time on the tours of England and Australia. However, the 27-year-old has bounced back into form in the ongoing 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign for KXIP and has also found a place in India’s squad for the upcoming World Cup.

In 12 IPL innings this season, Rahul has managed to score 520 runs at an average of nearly 58 with the help of one ton and four half-centuries. Gayle, who is having an excellent individual campaign himself, believes that Rahul can be India’s best long-term batting mainstay after skipper Virat Kohli.

“KL is definitely one of the players that comes to my mind (when you talk about the current India players), I hope he produces the goods like Virat. After Virat, it should be him,” Gayle was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India (PTI).

“But it is not necessary for him to put himself under that kind of pressure, he needs to be himself, stay in his zone and try not to compete with anyone.

KL Rahul is in sensational form. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

KL Rahul is in sensational form. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

“You have a lot of talent in India, I could go on and on and most of them don’t even get the opportunity.”

Kings XI’s hopes of making the IPL play-offs took a big beating on Monday when they were handed a 45-run defeat by Sunrisers Hyderabad. Ravi Ashwin and his men are now in sixth spot in the table with two games to play but Gayle is still confident of the side’s chances of progressing to the final four.

“Two years I have been here (KXIP) and it has been phenomenal. I love the Punjab style. I am getting to work with a great bunch of people and hopefully we can do something special for the franchise. The aim is get to the play-offs and take it from there,” the ‘Universe Boss’ stated.

Gayle and Rahul will next be in action for KXIP on Friday when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders in a crunch clash.

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