K.L. Rahul was left out of the Indian team for the T20 World Cup 2024 on Tuesday, with Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant making it to the 15-member squad.

The omission raised a few eyebrows given Rahul’s impressive run in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year, where he has scored 378 runs in nine innings at an average of 42 and a strike rate of over 144 for the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG).

A possible reason for the selectors preferring Samson and Pant over Rahul could be that the LSG batter mostly plays in the top order. In T20Is, Rahul has played 54 innings as opener, 10 innings at No. 3 and just four at No. 4.

In the previous World Cup edition, in Australia in 2022, Rahul had scored 128 runs in six innings at an average of 21 and a strike rate just above 120. This time, India simply had more options at the top in Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubhman Gill, and Abhishek Sharma.

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With Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli certain to start in the eleven, there was room for only Jaiswal in the top order. Even Shubman, who won the IPL Orange Cap last year, could only get to the reserves. Abhishek failed to make the cut altogether. Further, Rahul cannot be slotted in at No. 4 over Suryakumar Yadav.

In terms of the wicketkeeper’s selection, the return of Rishabh Pant from his injury hiatus made things further difficult for Rahul.

Rahul’s strike rate of 144 might have worked against him too. While Samson and Pant have similar returns in terms of runs in IPL 2024, both have better strike rates than Rahul. Pant has scored at over 158 while Samson takes it even higher to 161.

With Rahul’s lack of experience batting in the middle order, it would have been difficult to opt for him over Shivam Dube and Rinku Singh. As stellar a record as Rahul might have in the shortest format of the game, he lost out on a place purely due to the rapid change in the nature of the game.