KL Rahul and Yuzvendra Chahal’s IPL transformation has been dubbed the best in the league’s history by Virat Kohli. Kohli, who stepped down as RCB captain in 2021, has captained both Rahul and Chahal at the Bangalore franchise. He recalled how Rahul, who had never appeared to be a “T20 specialist,” transformed into a “beast” in the league.
In the IPL 2022, KL Rahul will lead the Lucknow Supergiants. He was one of their first three picks in the draft. Along with Marcus Stoinis (9.2 crores) and Ravin Bishnoi, he was selected by the franchise for INR 17 crores (4 Crores). He was also named as the team’s skipper ahead of the new season.
After four seasons with Punjab Kings, Rahul is dominating the IPL batting charts. For the franchises, he scored 2548 runs in 55 games over four seasons, including three 600-run seasons. After 2021, Rahul left Punjab and was selected by the Lucknow franchise.
Virat Kohli on KL Rahul’s transformation
Rahul made his IPL debut with RCB in 2013 before returning to the franchise in 2016, after spending a couple of seasons with the Sunrisers Hyderabad. He rose to prominence during the 2016 season when RCB reached the final, amassing 397 in 14 games at 44.11 and striking at an impressive 146.69.
While he did not participate in the 2017 edition of the tournament, Rahul’s lowest score is 593 in 2019, with all of his other years yielding him in excess of 600 runs, including his Orange Cap-winning 670 in 2020.
“The only two people who come to mind for me are KL (Rahul) and Yuzi (Yuzvendra Chahal). KL Rahul was at RCB in 2013 along with Karun and Mayank. KL Rahul was never a guy who was looked at as a T20 specialist. He was part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2015 and Avinash Vaidya was our manager before. He approached me because he was in touch with KL Rahul, and he was not getting any game time. And I had seen him play for India,” Kohli said.
Virat Kohli went on to say that Rahul drew his attention during his first season with India in 2014. He expressed his admiration for his confidence and body language.
“We wouldn’t spend so much time with each other. I had seen him play in Australia in 2014 when he made his Test debut and I felt like, ‘Wow! He’s seriously worked some wonder on his game. He’s come back as an amazing player, and he started off so strongly in Australia.’ I was very impressed with his body language, his confidence, his demeanor,” said Kohli.
Kohli then mentioned the 2016 edition of the IPL, in which RCB made it to the final for the third time. Rahul averaged 44.11 in that season, with a strike rate of 146.49, thanks to four fifties.
“He doesn’t need to be the focal point or that youngster who has to prove himself. It’s all about being a part of this great team and showing what he can do. And the way he batted that season, for me, that was a great transformation of seeing a player who was just there and there about to suddenly become this beast in six months’ time. From there on he’s carried through,” Kohli concluded.