Can Mayank Agarwal make a mark in the ODI series against New Zealand?
The Indian team was dealt a blow when ace opener and vice-captain Rohit Sharma was ruled out of the remainder of the New Zealand tour due to a calf injury. Rohit’s injury, coupled with Shikhar Dhawan’s unavailability, has opened the doors for two new faces to make a mark in Indian colors.
Prithvi's in the team and will definitely start and whoever the replacement is [Agarwal] - we've asked for an opener. KL will play in the middle-order, we want him to get used to that role at No. 5 and keep as well.
It is important to note that Kohli emphasized Rahul will continue to bat at No. 5. Now, this provides a golden opportunity for Agarwal to throw his hat in the reckoning.
The 28-year-old has already made a mark in Test cricket, by scoring heavily in the matches against South Africa and Bangladesh. If Agarwal can perform at a similar level in the ODI series, he can be in contention for a long-term spot in the side.
In fact, Agarwal has a very good List A record. The Karnataka batsman has played 84 innings and scored almost 4000 runs, at an average of 49.37.
Agarwal was rewarded for scoring heavily in the Ranji Trophy as he was drafted into the Test side for the Boxing Day match in Australia at the iconic MCG Cricket ground. And he rose to the challenge in splendid fashion by scoring a sedate 76.
Agarwal is a man who follows the textbook. He seamlessly switches between caution and aggression and has a very cool head. In fact, when asked about how he makes the transition between different formats of the game, this is what Agarwal had to say:
The more I play like this, the better it is for me as a cricketer because I rather play cricket than not play cricket. When it comes to mindset (switching formats), the basics remain the same. It's easy to switch formats if your game-plan is clear and your understanding of the game is clear.
Regardless of wherever I play, I always think about how I can become an asset to my team and how I can contribute to the team. Even if I don't score runs with the bat, I think about contributing on the field, bringing in more energy on the field.
Now, a similar opportunity awaits the right-hander in white-ball cricket. If Agarwal is able to make a mark just the way he did in Tests, he will give skipper Kohli plenty of headaches regarding selection when Dhawan returns from injury.Published 04 Feb 2020, 21:21 IST