KL Rahul, the spectacularly unmemorable bro who deserves limelight

India's wicketkeeper-batter has been remarkably good at what is less remarked on

Someone to help you move your books to a new apartment, an ear to vent to about your battles at work, a pick-up from the side of the highway when your vehicle breaks down, an arm around your shoulder after a break-up. For these and other wholesome acts of friendship, call KL Rahul.
Not seriously, because obviously he doesn't have time for the likes of you. Although, you sense, perhaps he'd like to.
It's been that sort of World Cup for Rahul - a player who even at his strokemaking finest has the bearing of someone producing the sweetest and most thoughtful support act. In the match against England, as Rohit Sharma took the lead on raising India from 40 for 3, Rahul was massaging his way to a 39 off 58 as the two produced the most consequential stand of the match. Their 91 together was more than the scores of England's top seven combined.
Against New Zealand, his 27 off 35 had helped arrest a potential slide, against Pakistan he made a perfectly adequate 19 not out in a small chase. Memorably, against Bangladesh, he had partnered Virat Kohli in the late stages of a chase. When Kohli was nearing a 48th ODI hundred, and only a few runs were remaining to complete the chase, Rahul convinced Kohli that they shouldn't take singles off his own bat, to leave Kohli with enough remaining runs to get to 100.
Kohli, we're told, had refused at first. But how could you say no to Rahul? "I said, I mean it's not won but still I think we'll win quite easily. So if you can get to the milestone, why not? You must try it," this is what Rahul told Star Sports soon after the match ended. "I wasn't going to run the singles anyway."
Sometimes it's not enough to just offer buddies your support. Occasionally, you must insist that they need you. You got your hundred in the end, didn't you, big guy? See? Knew you had it in you.
With gloves on, Rahul has occasionally been memorably spectacular, but mostly spectacularly unmemorable. The former when he dived down leg to pouch in the tips of his left glove's webbing, a catch off the inside half of Mehidy Hasan Miraz's bat that had been travelling especially rapidly. The latter, pretty much anytime else, gobbling the remaining five catches that have come his way, plus effecting a straightforward stumping against England.
Perhaps you could point to the six byes across six matches, or the missed half-chance off the bat of Daryl Mitchell off Ravindra Jadeja in the 30th over of New Zealand's innings in Dharamsala. But that was a catch beyond the reflexes of all but the wicketkeeping geniuses.
Rahul has instead willed himself to excel at the the dull stuff: keeping low, reading from the hand, getting himself into strong positions by making footwork the foundation of his keeping. When you keep this way, you dive only occasionally, draw little attention, but generally end up with the ball inside your mitts.
In that Dharamsala match, he had also fired in an excellent under-arm throw to run out Lockie Ferguson, as New Zealand attempted a bye. Typically this came after Mohammed Shami had already completed his five-wicket haul earlier that over. Don't steal your bro's thunder; never leave 'em hanging.
If Rahul's keeping has not made major splashes elsewhere, it has certainly had recognition within the team. He has twice been the recipient of the "best fielder of the match" medal, for which India have had increasingly elaborate presentation ceremonies. It has also allowed India to strengthen their batting against spin, Suryakumar Yadav coming in following the injury to Hardik Pandya, with India happy enough with Rahul's keeping to keep Ishan Kishan - who keeps wicket more often than Rahul at the lower levels - not required in the XI.
Rahul is much more than just a support player of course; his 97 not out off 115 against Australia had been among the first rumblings of India's campaign, which has since become an avalanche. In fact, this year the guy averages 74.70, with a strike rate of 84.69 - not beta numbers. There was also the hundred that came against Pakistan, in the Asia Cup.
But when team-mates have bossed the limelight, and all that was required of Rahul was to do the little things that keep a team ticking, he has been remarkably good at what is less remarked on.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf