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India tour of Australia: KL Rahul relishing dual roles

KL Rahul

Bengaluru, November 27: KL Rahul is relishing his dual role as a wicketkeeper-batsman in the shorter formats of the game and does not mind continuing with it in the long run.

The 28-year-old opening batsman has been donning the big gloves for India since the One-day International home series against Australia in early January.

He enacted a similar role with Kings XI Punjab franchise in the recently concluded Indian Premier League 2020 in the UAE.

KL Rahul says MS Dhoni is irreplaceable, wants to emulate former India skipper

With him being thrust with an additional responsibility behind the stumps, Rahul has been forced to relinquish his regular opening batsman's role as he now occupies a middle-order slot in India's ODI and T20 XI.

The Karnataka batsman has no qualms whatsoever about donning the dual role as long as it helps the team's balance.

"If I keep putting up consistent performances with the bat and the gloves, it obviously gives us the option of playing an extra batter or an extra bowler," Rahul said in a virtual press conference on the eve of the first ODI against Australia at Sydney.

However, Rahul, who has also been named the vice-captain of the team in the shorter formats with Virat Kohli's regular deputy Rohit Sharma injured, was coy when asked whether this was part of India's bigger plans with three World Cups -- Twenty20 (2021, 2022) and 50-overs (2023) -- lined up in as many years.

"I don't think we as a team are thinking that far. Obviously World Cups are very important. That's the long vision for every team," he said.

But Rahul was quick to point out that given a chance he does not mind donning the dual roles in the three major global tournaments.

"If the opportunity presents itself, and I can keep in all three World Cups. I would love to do it," he added.

India began their 69-day long tour of Australia with the first of three-match ODI series at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday (November 27). This will be followed by as many T20Is and four Test matches.

Kohli, who has availed the paternity leave will return home after th first Test in Adelaide.

His deputy in the longer formats -- Ajinkya Rahane -- will lead the side for the remaining three Test matches.

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Story first published: Friday, November 27, 2020, 9:35 [IST]
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