India batting coach Vikram Rathour has come out strongly in support of struggling opener KL Rahul, who has not looked in any sort of rhythm in the ongoing T20I series against England. Despite being one of India’s most consistent batsman in the shorter format, Rahul’s form has come under severe scrutiny after he registered 1, 0, 0 in the three T20Is against England. However, Rahul has found the backing of team management during his poor run – first, it was captain Virat Kohli who called the India opener as ‘champion player’ and now it’s coach Rathour who extended his promising support by rating Rahul ‘India’s best T20 batsman.

Three cheap dismissals can’t change the fact that Rahul is India’s “best T20 batsman” and it won’t be long that one shot or one innings will get him back to his best, batting coach said. “Anybody can have a lean phase and KL has been our best batsman in T20 format. He is averaging 40 plus with a strike rate of 145 and three failures doesn’t change the fact that he is the best batsman we have in this format,” Rathour said after India lost the third T20 International on Tuesday.

Rahul got out without scoring in two of his last three innings while he managed just one run in the series opener against England. A part of it could be attributed to no game time since the end of T20 series in Australia early December.

“This is the time when we need to support him and I am absolutely sure he will come back out of the lean phase,” the batting coach spoke in the same vein as Kohli did at the presentation ceremony.

However, Rathour did agree that rustiness could be a reason and all it would take is one good shot to get back into the groove.

“I agree they do tend to get rusty when they are sitting out but only thing we can do is to provide them practice. They are having a lot of net sessions and even on middle (centre strips),” he said.

“That’s all they can do and we can just hope that one innings or one shot and they will be back in form. People like KL Rahul.”

In the first T20I, the 28-year-old Rahul dragged a Jofra Archer delivery back onto his stumps, in the second match, he was trapped by Sam Curran. In the third T20I on Tuesday, Rahul was beaten for pace by a Mark Wood delivery that rattled his stumps.

India have now lost two games batting first and according to the former Test opener the pitches on offer during the last three matches have been tricky.

“It is a difficult surface to assess what will be a good score and the bounce makes it tricky when you start batting. The ball stops and we saw some variable bounce. So you can’t assess how many runs will be a good score,” Rathour said.

“Every game that we have played was on a different surface and as a team it is tough. We have had 3 games now and next game hopefully we can do better if we bat first.”