Former Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar has backed Mayank Agarwal to open the innings in the Test matches against Australia.
India’s six-match limited-overs series kicks off on November 27 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, before the Border-Gavaskar Trophy commences with a pink-ball Test on December 17.
Mayank Agarwal has earned a berth in all three formats for the first time in his short international career. While he was there in the ODI squad when India toured New Zealand earlier this year, the right-handed opener was picked for the T20Is after scoring 424 runs at a strike rate of 156.45 in 11 games at the recently concluded IPL 2020.
Mayank Agarwal might face competition for the opener’s role from KL Rahul and Shubman Gill in white-ball cricket, but Sachin Tendulkar believes that the Karnataka lad picks himself for the Test matches.
“Mayank, I know, is a confirmed started because he has scored runs and if Rohit is fit and available, then he should be there. Between other guys [Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul], that will be the management’s decision as they would be knowing who’s the form man,” Sachin Tendulkar said in an interview with PTI.
Interestingly, Mayank Agarwal came in as a replacement for Prithvi Shaw when India last toured Australia in 2018/19. He scored 76 & 42 on his Test debut in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and helped India win the match by 137 runs.
‘The Indian team will leave no stone unturned as far as preparations are concerned,’ says Sachin Tendulkar
A lot of talk has been around Australia being strengthened by the additions of Steve Smith and David Warner. Another talking point has been the fact that India will miss Virat Kohli for the final three Tests, as the Indian captain will fly back home after the first Test to attend the birth of his child.
Sachin Tendulkar was quick to acknowledge the same, but he sounded confident that India are also preparing accordingly, which will make for a much competitive series.
“Smith, Warner and [Marnus] Labuschagne will be a factor and I am confident that the Indian team will leave no stone unturned as far as preparations are concerned. These two seniors back in the team and also with Labuschagne in there, it makes it a much better batting unit. It will be a bit more competitive series and I am sure India is ready for it,” Sachin Tendulkar reasoned.
Sachin Tendulkar admitted that Kohli's departure will leave a big void, but stated that it would also be a chance for some of the fringe players to kick up a gear and establish themselves.
“Virat not being there without a doubt is a big void but also, on the other hand, the kind of bench strength that we have and the talent that is available, it is a good opportunity for somebody to establish himself,” Sachin Tendulkar concluded.
India will kickstart their 2020/21 tour of Australia with a 3-match ODI series followed by as many T20Is, before heading on to the 4-Test Border-Gavaskar Trophy.