Hero Image

'66 off 107, it was not...': Shoaib Malik questions KL Rahul's approach in World Cup final vs Australia

NEW DELHI: After India's defeat by six wickets against Australia in the ODI World Cup 2023 final match on Sunday, the former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik remarked on KL Rahul 's batting approach.

Malik, during the discussion A Sports, a Pakistani-based channel, expressed his opinion that Rahul ought to have focused on rotating the strike, especially when boundaries were hard to come by during the match.

"KL Rahul was just trying to bat through the 50 overs. He should not have done that and should have tried to play his game. If you're batting in tough conditions and the boundaries aren't coming easily, then at least you've got to rotate strike. That wasn't happening, there were a lot of dot balls," Malik said.

Malik further emphasised that the Indian wicketkeeper-batter should have taken a more proactive approach during the match.

"He has been taking a lot of responsibility when India loses quick wickets upfront. If you will see his innings (against Australia) 66 off 107 balls, it was not a KL Rahul innings. He went into a zone, where he only wanted to play the whole fifty overs. He should have been a little more proactive," he added.

He pointed out that at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the long side boundaries worked to the advantage of the Australian players, who effectively utilised them against the 'Men in Blue'.

Additionally, Malik stated that the winners of the World Cup 2023 demonstrated a superior understanding of Indian conditions compared to the hosts.

"The venue in which this match was played had long side boundaries. The Australian utilised these boundaries very well. They said we won't let you hit us down the ground and you can hit us square of the wicket. Their bowlers used variations very well. The Australians assessed the Indian conditions better than the Indians and then executed their plans," Malik further added.

Former Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq said that Rahul did not trust the other batters in the first inning of the game. He further said that the 31-year-old was thinking of reaching the 250-run mark for his team and it got difficult.

"KL plays spin very well and we have seen it throughout the tournament. He plays well square of the wicket, front of the wicket, and uses his feet really well. But his approach was that he was waiting. He maybe was not trusting the other batters. He was thinking about getting the team to 250 and it got difficult," said Misbah.

(With ANI Inputs)