A record-breaking batsman on the world stage
A tall, elegant right-handed batsman who can also keep wicket, KL Rahul is among the most highly-rated opening batsmen of India’s current generation.
KL played Red Bull Campus Cricket for two years (2011-12) representing Jain University Bangalore and was a part of India’s squad in the 2010 Under-19 World Cup.
He made his first-class debut later that year and having taken a while to establish himself as a first-class cricketer, he enjoyed a breakthrough 2013-14 season, laying the foundation for Karnataka’s Ranji Trophy victory with 1033 runs, which included three centuries, three nineties, and a Man-of-the-Match performance in the final.
KL attracted plenty of attention at the subsequent IPL auction, and finally went to Sunrisers Hyderabad for US$166,000 approx. He was a regular member of their side in the 2014 season, mostly as wicketkeeper-batsman, but his contributions with the bat were steady rather than spectacular.
In the long format, however, his technique and application have impressed some of Indian cricket’s most respected names. These include Rahul Dravid, with who KL shares not just a name but also a strong rapport, regularly seeking him out for technical and mental advice.
KL had a middling tour of Australia with the India A team in July-August 2014, getting starts each time he batted in the unofficial Tests, but only managing a top score of 52. But his appetite for runs was back to normal by the time the 2014-15 domestic season began, and twin centuries in the Duleep Trophy final earned him a place in India’s Test squad on their tour of Australia & Bangladesh in 2015.
A profitable IPL in 2016 set him up to make the Indian ODI and T20 squad that toured Zimbabwe in June, where he became the first batsman from his country to score a century on debut in 50-over cricket.
More records came his way when he became the first Indian opener to score a century (158) in his debut Test in the West Indies and then KL set the world record for being the only player to score a hundred in their first innings as opener in both Tests and ODIs.
Not content with that, KL next set the record for the fastest batsman to have scored centuries in all three formats – a record he achieved in only 20 innings.
In 2019, he scored his maiden century in ODIs at the World Cup and in December of the same year KL passed 1,000 runs in T20Is, while 2020 saw him named captain of his IPL side, Kings XI Punjab.