NEW DELHI: Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has lent his support to KL Rahul amid the uproar over his ongoing struggles with the bat, requesting everyone to leave the 30-year-old batter alone and backing him to make a strong comeback.
Rahul is going through a lean patch in Test cricket recently. The right-handed batter has only scored one fifty in the last six Test matches he has played for India.
In the ongoing Border Gavaskar Trophy, he has made scores of 20, 17 and 1 in the first two Tests. Despite his poor run in the recent matches, Rahul is still getting backed by the team management even if an inform Shubhman Gill is sitting out, which has invited heavy criticism from the former Indian pacer Venkatesh Prasad and fans as well.
Commenting on the matter, Harbhajan took to Twitter and asked fans to keep faith in the star opener. "Can we leave @klrahul alone guys? He hasn't done any crime. He is still a top player. He will come back strong. we all go thru such patches in international cricket. he is not the first one and last one. so please respect the fact that he is our own player and have faith," tweeted Singh.
Harbhajan's reaction came at a time when former Indian cricketers Prasad and Aakash Chopra are engaged in a Twitter war over Rahul's place in the team even after a slump in his batting.
Prasad has constantly criticised Rahul for his poor run of form that led to a war of words with Chopra, who tried to defend the right hander from the former pacer's criticism. Chopra in his Youtube video on KL Rahul, accused Prasad of running a personal agenda.
"I am not saying KL Rahul will become like Rohit Sharma but I humbly request you to stay calm. If there are any agendas, let's not peddle them. Let's talk about the numbers that are actually there and not those that suit your thoughts," Aakash said.
Reacting to the video, Prasad posted a series of tweets and said he has nothing against Rahul or any other player. "I have no agenda against any player, maybe there are others who have. Difference of opinion is fine but calling contrary views as apna personal agenda and Twitter par mat laayein is funny for @cricketaakash, considering he has made a great career by airing his views.
"Have nothing against KL or any other player, my voice has been against unfair selection and different yardsticks for performers. Be it Sarfaraz or Kuldeep, have voiced based on merit. But it was disappointing to see Aakash calling it a personal agenda.
He also shared a screenshot of a Twitter post from Chopra's criticism of Rohit Sharma in 2014 and said: "This is what Aakash had aired when Rohit was 24 with 4 yrs in international cross. He can use sarcasm for Rohit at 24, and I cannot point out underperforming Rahul at 31 with 8 years in International cricket. Yeh bhi sahi hai. "
And the argument that we should not criticise a player in an ongoing match personally doesn't make sense to me. That doesn't affect the players performance. Most players don't read views even after the match and no player can read in between match as phones are deposited.
"I admire Aakash for the hard work he puts on his YouTube channel but calling a different view point as agenda because it doesn't suit his narrative is poor. There is no bitterness between us and since his video was in public domain wanted to put my point out here," he added.
Rahul retained his place in the India squad for the third and fourth Tests of Border-Gavaskar trophy but lost the vice-captain role. It will be interesting to see whether he can retain his place in the playing XI for the third Test in Indore or Gill finally gets a game.
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