KL Rahul already has 2 Test centuries to his credit © Getty Images
KL Rahul already has 2 Test centuries to his credit © Getty Images

KL Rahul on Saturday created history when he slammed a century against Zimbabwe in the first match at Harare, and in the process, becoming the first batsman to achieve the feat on ODI debut for India. Rahul struck exact 100 not out off 115 balls, striking 7 boundaries and hitting the only six of the match, which helped him bring up his maiden ton. After making a nervous debut in Test cricket on Australia tour in 2014-15, Rahul ensured he does not go through the same fate in ODI cricket as well.

The Karnataka cricketer was a bundle of nerves when he made his Test debut close to one-and-a-half years ago in Australia, playing attacking strokes in situations that did not demand him to. Rahul had a nervous debut when he recorded the scores of 1 and 3 at Melbourne on his Test debut during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2014-15. He made amends at Sydney, and completed his maiden century against a strong Australian bowling attack to bring up his first Test ton. ALSO READ: KL Rahul registers highest score on ODI debut for India

Rahul has so far played 5 Tests, and has 2 centuries in his kitty. The second century came on the tour of Sri Lanka in mid 2015, when the right-hander scored a fluent 108 at Colombo, setting up a memorable 278-run win for the touring Indian side.

The 24-year-old is one of the most composed young cricketers in the Indian arsenal, and the distinguishing quality of continuous improvement of his game makes Rahul one of the players to watch out for. He has been inventing himself as a wicketkeeper-batsman, and the glimpse of the same was visible in the IPL 2016 when he outgunned Kedar Jadhav to keep the wickets for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for the majority of the tournament. ALSO READ: KL Rahul becomes 13th Indian to score fifty on debut

On Saturday, when India were set a paltry target of 169 on a tricky wicket that assisted seamers early on, Rahul opened the innings with his state-mate Karun Nair. The two became the third pair in the Indian cricket history to open the innings on their ODI debut, and it was Rahul who celebrated the occasion in style.

There was never the need of any rush for India to chase down 169. A side that is studded with a lot of young guns, the priority is to find their feet in international cricket. Before leaving for Zimbabwe, Rahul had already stated that he will not be trying anything out of the box, and the emphasis will be on expressing himself and going out to have some fun as well. ALSO READ: KL Rahul 1st Indian to score century on ODI debut

Well, Rahul did have some fun when he struck the only six of the game when India needed 2 to win, and in the process, completed his maiden century. But before that, there was an ideal approach to a paltry total in a not-so-exciting ODI against Zimbabwe. He added 162 runs with Ambati Rayudu to shut Zimbabwe out of the match, not giving the hosts any opportunity to create further inroads after they removed Nair for 7 early on in India’s innings.

It was a calculative innings by Rahul, who took his time to notch up a score that will help him many folds going ahead. He is the only cricketer named in the Indian squads for their series in Zimbabwe and in the Caribbean, and it will not be surprising to see Rahul making further progress as a blooming batsman who is branching out as a wicketkeeper as well. 

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)