India vs Australia: Ahead of team Indias first T20I against Australia, vice-captain KL Rahul said hes working hard to improve as an opener and have more impact in the team.

India is set to begin their home series against Australia on September 20, and Rahul, who has been coping with a fair bit of criticism for his strike-rate, said he will look to improve his strike-rate in the powerplay ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Speaking during the pre-match press conference, Rahul said, “I am feeling good obviously and it’s been a few games since I came back after the injury. Playing in the Asia Cup and going to Zimbabwe, playing a couple of innings was really important and crucial for me. And I am looking forward to the challenge against Australia. They will be fun to play in the home.”

India vs Australia, 1st T20I: Rohit Sharma & Co. look to give final shape to team, plans

Meanwhile, talking about his strike-rate, the stylish opener said, numbers can be deceptive and not always tell the whole story. Rahul went on to add that it is difficult to maintain the same temp throughout an innings.

“It is something that every player works towards (strike-rate). No one is perfect. Everyone is working towards something,” said Rahul, who batted at a strike-rate of 122.22 during the recently-concluded Asia Cup in UAE. However, Rahul’s career T20I strike-rate is 140 plus across 61 games but it is primarily because he makes it up during the back-10 of an innings. “Strike-rates are taken on an overall basis,” he said and the gave his rationale behind the argument.

“You never see that a batter has played at a certain strike-rate (throughout). Whether it was important for him to play at a strike-rate of 200 or whether the team could have still won with the batter playing at 100 or 120, these things are not always analysed. So when you look at (overall), it looks slow,” Rahul added.

But Rahul added that he is working on his strike-rate. “It is something I am working on. Obviously, the goals have been defined to each player in the last 10-12 months. Everyone has a clear understanding as to what is expected out of him. I am just working towards how can I better myself as an opening batter,” said the India vice-captain on Monday.

Team environment has allowed players to learn from their mistakes

Rahul is happy to be a part of a dressing room that allows players to learn from their mistakes. “The most important thing for the player in the room is what captain and coach and teammates think of him and we know what is expected out of each person. everyone is trying to give best not every time a player will succeed.

“We have created an environment where players are not afraid to fail or not afraid to make mistakes. Even if mistakes happen this is what we do. We work the hardest for this.”

Criticism will be there but what this Indian team believes is self criticism. “Criticism everyone does but we criticise ourselves the most. We are playing for the country and when we don’t do well it hurts us the most,” he said.

Different mistakes happened at different events

India will be looking to finalise their combinations for the T20 World Cup in the six home games against Australia and South Africa. Rahul said the team is yet to play to its full potential. “Skill wise our performance was only 80-85 percent. We are still not very good in terms of batting or excellent in bowling or fielding. There are a few things we need to fix.

“You can only win big events if all these are done well and the team comes together to win championship.”

At last year’s T20 World Cup and this year’s Asia Cup, the mistakes committed were different. “What happened in Asia Cup and 2021 World Cup (both early exit), we made (committed) different mistakes in those two events. We are very clear about what went wrong and we are trying to learn from it,” he signed off.

India Squad:

Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandaran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav. Match Starts at 7:30pm IST

Source: Inputs from PTI