Tendulkar’s monumental tweet makes KL Rahul’s historic century more special | Cricket


When KL Rahul was in his 80s on Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa in Centurion, a graphic about his career statistics in Test matches flashed on the screen. 2743 runs at an average of 34.28 in 48 matches. “He would be the first one to admit that he has to be more consistent in this format,” said Ravi Shastri in commentary. The former India head coach was spot on. Those numbers don’t do justice to Rahul. They are also the main reason why he was dropped from the Test side twice in the last three years and if it wasn’t for an injury to India’s regular keeper Rishabh Pant and some not-so-impressive outings from KS Bharat, he would have continued to be in the wilderness in this format.

India's batsman KL Rahul celebrates after reaching a century during the second day of 1st Test vs South Africa(AP)
India’s batsman KL Rahul celebrates after reaching a century during the second day of 1st Test vs South Africa(AP)

What this also meant was Rahul had to bat out of position. To put matters into perspective, only five times did he not open in Test cricket before this match. As it turned out, this became a blessing in disguise for the right-hander.

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Despite his dwindling overall returns in red-ball cricket, there was never an iota of doubt about his quality. two centuries in England, one each in South Africa, Australia, West Indies, and Sri Lanka were the biggest proof. In fact, he only has one Test century in home conditions, which perhaps explains the low average.

The Rahul that turned up for the series-opening Boxing Day Test against South Africa was the one everyone expected him to be. Coming in to bat at No. 6 – only the second time in his Test career – Rahul smashed 101 off 137 balls in perhaps one of the most difficult circumstances to take India to 245.

He became the first overseas batter to score multiple Test centuries at this venue. He had scored a century in 2022. Rahul also became only the third Indan after Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli to score more than one Test century in South Africa.

Sachin Tendulkar bowled over by KL Rahul’s century vs South Africa

Tendulkar, the one who has the most centuries in South Africa among Asian batters, was quite understandably impressed by the way Rahul mixed caution with aggression to counter the South African pacers. Tendulkar, who has five centuries in the Rainbow Nation, said the best part about Rahul’s knock was his clarity of thought.

“Well played Rahul. What impressed me was his clarity of thought. His footwork looked precise and assured, and that happens when a batter is thinking right. This century is crucial in the context of this Test. India would be happy with 245 considering where they were at one stage yesterday,” Tendulkar wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Rahul hit four sixes and 14 fours in his knock. The way he conserved wickets, batted with the tail and landed counter punches on the likes of Marco Jansen, Gerald Coetzee, Nandre Burger and even the best bowler on display, Kagiso Rabada, easily makes this a candidate of being one of the best Test centuries by an Indian batter in these conditions.

Shastri said it was definitely the best Test hundred of Rahul’s career by a country mile.

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