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Centurion KL Rahul confident about India’s chances in Cardiff

Rahul was at a loss to explain his lack of centuries, dating back to the Chennai Test in 2016.

KL Rahul is hoping to put 18 barren months well behind him after rediscovering the knack of hitting centuries.

The India batsman was scratching his head over his lack of hundreds, between a Test-best 199 against England at Chennai in December 2016 and an unbeaten 101 to complete Tuesday’s eight-wicket Vitality IT20 trouncing of Eoin Morgan’s hosts in Manchester.

As he and India contemplate doubling up to seal the three-match series in Cardiff on Friday night, Rahul admits he was running out of theories about why he was habitually falling short of three figures in both international and domestic cricket.

“I didn’t know what to make of it – whether I was in form or out of form, (because) I kept getting the fifties and (then) getting out,” he said.

“Being in and out of the team, injuries and sickness all playing on my mind, kept frustrating me even more.

“(But) I realised somewhere down the line it is still better than getting out in single figures.”

It has been a long wait, but one which could not have ended in more rewarding circumstances for Rahul.

He said: “For a lot of us, it is our first time here in the UK – so every opportunity is gold for us.

“I wanted it really badly and I’m very happy that it came here in England, in the first game of the series.

“I hope I can carry that confidence forward and use the form and make it big.”

Rahul finished what his team-mate Kuldeep Yadav started at Old Trafford, where the left-arm wrist-spinner bamboozled England – taking three of his five wickets in one over.

Asked if the hosts have a weakness against spin, however, Rahul said: “I don’t think it is just England.

“A good wrist-spinner is a good wrist-spinner against any opposition.

“With the kind of skill and quality Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal have, it’s always going to be hard for a team that doesn’t play spin a lot.

“What Kuldeep did was special… (to bowl) balls like that against (Jonny) Bairstow and (Joe) Root, (it) is always hard for a middle-order batsman.”

Kuldeep twice pulled out in his delivery stride – apparently to offset movement being made in the crease by the batsman – as did seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, sparking a minor confrontation with England all-rounder David Willey.

Rahul can see both points of view, but believes Kuldeep and Kumar did nothing wrong.

“It would frustrate me as a batsman,” he said.

“But the margin for error for bowlers in T20 cricket is very little – so whatever tactics they can come up with and whatever they try to do to upset the batsmen is only fair.”

Press Association

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