Cricket

Rahul’s rise to captaincy a sign of IPL infiltration

Rahul IPL, Six Sports

Richie Benaud’s quote “Captaincy is 90 percent luck and 10 percent skill… but don’t try it without that 10 percent”, has now donned on a new meaning in today’s cricket scenario.

The infiltration of IPL has caused a significant change in Indian cricket.

After the resignation of Virat Kohli as Test captain, the 29-year-old KL Rahul is being seen as an all-format captain for the Indian cricket team.

But, KL Rahul has not much experience in captaincy and has only captained one first-class game. So, if Rahul is named as Test captain for next month’s Sri Lanka series, it would factor in a lack of available options for India. But before that, India has to face South Africa in a 3-match ODI series.

Rahul’s rise to captaincy a sign of IPL infiltration, Six Sports

Rahul came in as captain in the second Test against South Africa after Kohli complained of an upper back spasm. But, he could not commandeer his troops properly and as a result, India lost the match. But, it was only his second time as captain and the blame cannot be put on him.

Rahul is a great batsman who has been honed by years of batting in different cricketing levels. He is a regular player for his state team, was a member of the U-19 World Cup team, and an old member of the India A team. But never was he seen as captain material either by coaches or selectors.

Rahul’s rise to captaincy a sign of IPL infiltration, Six Sports

But, in the IPL, skills do not matter for the franchises. They care about the glitz and glamour and just want a face for their team. When Punjab Kings saw Rahul smashing runs for RCB and his aggressive style of play, they immediately pounced on him after he was released by Bangalore.

But the two seasons he captained for Punjab Kings, didn’t offer any great profits to the franchise in terms of wins.

Rahul’s rise to captaincy a sign of IPL infiltration, Six Sports

The trend of marketibility over skill

Marketability is what wields more importance in cricket today rather than skill.

So, the Punjab Kings didn’t even bother to check Rahul’s past captaincy records as his other factors overshadowed his skills.

He was a regular member of Team India, had a pan-India following and an overpowering social media presence. Not to forget that he also was popular in the Bollywood circuit. All this made him, according to the franchise, “a youth icon”.

So, does Rahul’s elevation to Indian team captaincy the result of his Punjab Kings’ captaincy stint? That reason doesn’t ring right.

His franchise didn’t even finish in the top four in the 2020 and 2021 seasons and they remained eighth.

Rahul’s rise to captaincy a sign of IPL infiltration, Six Sports

After he was released by the Punjab Kings, a tussle between Lucknow and Ahmedabad intensified as to who will claim KL Rahul as their captain.

But, after Ahmedabad signed Hardik Pandya as their captain, Lucknow was free to claim Rahul as their skipper.

But both Pandya and Rahul haven’t done much captaincy and have proven themselves as game-changers with their batting.

Famous players sell

In the world of IPL, if you have famous cricketers as faces of your team, chances are your franchise will be popular among fans.

For example, the Royal Challengers Bangalore has the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers who have marketed their franchise very well despite not winning a single trophy. Their coffers have always remained full.

Rahul’s rise to captaincy a sign of IPL infiltration, Six Sports

Luckily, this is not the system on the national side yet.

So, the big question that looms is that does KL Rahul have the capability to lead India? As of now, there is no data available regarding his captaincy. India has taken a massive leap of faith if they want Rahul to lead the team.

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