IPL 2024: Focus on 'fit again' K L Rahul as Lucknow Super Giants face Rajasthan Royals

    The Hawk
    March23/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    K L Rahul's Much-Awaited Comeback: Balancing Fitness Challenges, Leadership Duties, and Performance Expectations in the IPL 2024 Opener Against Rajasthan Royals

    K L Rahul.

    Jaipur: The focus will be on K L Rahul's form and fitness when he returns from a quadriceps injury to lead the Lucknow Super Giants in their IPL opener against Rajasthan Royals here on Sunday.

    Rahul missed the last four Tests against England due to pain in his right quadriceps. He was out for four months last year after undergoing a thigh surgery.

    LSG captain will look to hit top gear not only as a batter but also as a leader, especially after guiding the team to successive playoffs in the first two seasons.

    Rahul is likely to play purely as a batter, at least in the initial phase of IPL, but the additional burden of keeping strengthen his chances of making the T20 World Cup squad.

    His opposite number on Sunday, Sanju Samson, is also a candidate for the wicket-keepers' role in the India squad for the ICC event and he too will be keen to find his rhythm right from the start.

    RR had come tantalisingly close to clinching a second title before Gujarat Titans broke their heart in the final in 2022. They looked good in the initial stages even last season but slipped to fifth place in the end.

    Both the teams will have some tough calls to make as they figure out their best XI.

    RR have a solid batting line-up, boosting of the likes of in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, besides skipper Sansom. They also have a finisher in Dhruv Jurel, who made an impressive India debut in the recent five-match Test series against England.

    But Samson may look to strength the middle-order by bringing in West Indies' Rovman Powell to go with countrymate Shimron Hetmyer.

    LSG, on the other hand, would depend on Quinton de Kock, Marcus Stonis and Nicholas Pooran to do bulk of the scoring apart from skipper Rahul.

    It is going to be an interesting battle as they will have to contend with spin wizards -- Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal, who can run through any batting line-up on a given day.

    Lucknow too have a shrewd customer in leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who would be itching to put up a good show to put himself in line for a place in the T20 World Cup squad. Also the 41-year-old veteran leg-break bowler Amit Mishra is always in the thick of things.

    But their pace battery wears a dim look, especially after foreign recruits Mark Wood and David Willey were ruled out and the Indian talents like tearaway quick Mayank Yadav and Mohsin Khan plagued by fitness issues.

    Also the inexperience of pacer Yash Thakur and lack of game time for Shivam Mavi means LSG might hand the responsibility to experienced Naveen ul Haq and West Indies sensation Shamar Joseph.

    It will also be interesting to see how Justin Langer goes about his business in his first IPL assignment as coach of LSG.


    Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (c), Jos Buttler, Shubham Dubey, Shimron Hetmyer, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Dhruv Jurel, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Riyan Parag, Rovman Powell, Kunal Singh Rathore, Ravichandran Ashwin, Donovan Ferreira, Avesh Khan, Trent Boult, Nandre Burger, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna, Navdeep Saini, Sandeep Sharma, Kuldeep Sen, Abid Mushtaq, Tanush Kotian.

    Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (c), Quinton de Kock, Nicholas Pooran, Ayush Badoni, Kyle Mayers, Marcus Stoinis, Deepak Hooda, Devdutt Padikkal, Ravi Bishnoi, Naveen-ul-Haq, Krunal Pandya, Yudhvir Singh, Prerak Mankad, Yash Thakur, Amit Mishra, Shamar Joseph, Mayank Yadav, Mohsin Khan, K. Gowtham, Shivam Mavi, Arshin Kulkarni, M. Siddharth, Ashton Turner, David Willey, Mohd. Arshad Khan.

    Match starts 3.30 PM IST.