Picked as the third opener after Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, it is possible that the team management will use KL Rahul at No 3 or No 4 in the batting order, given that he has been in good touch in the few weeks ahead of the World Cup, using the competitive Indian Premier League to find consistency and a flow that can stand him in good stead.
There are some who may point out that he has played only in 14 one-day internationals and lacks the experience at this level. The century he made on debut against Zimbabwe remains the only one in one-day internationals. And his two half-centuries have come against them and Afghanistan while he has not played against many leading teams. Yet, he is no spring chicken as he has played at the highest level for more than four years, including in 34 Tests and 27 Twenty20 internationals.
He has shown a remarkable ability to rally from the setback of having to return from Australia in the wake of a controversial shoot of the Koffee with Karan episode. He has deliberately embraced a more mature demeanour on the cricket field. Having missed out on the one-day series in Australia and the limited-over series in New Zealand, he returned to the international stage by scoring well in the Twenty20 series against Australia at home.
He has the game sense that can make him one of the key players in the World Cup. He reads the conditions and the match situation well and modifies his approach accordingly. He can bring a cerebral approach to the madness that batting in limited-over cricket can be. A lot of people will be hoping the openers and Virat Kohli will score big in the World Cup, but it should not surprise anyone if Rahul steals the thunder with his ability to adapt.