Is it time for Mayank Agarwal in Australia?
Prithvi Shaw has been ruled out of the Adelaide Test, after suffering an ankle injury while attempting to take a catch on the deep mid-wicket boundary on the third day against the Cricket Australia XI in India’s only warm-up game in Australia.
Shaw was an obvious choice to start the Adelaide Test, having scored runs in the first innings and against New-Zealand A team earlier this month. With the second Test in Perth starting four days after the Adelaide Test, it seems difficult for the youngster to have any chance of playing the Perth game as well.
That will come as a big blow for the Indian team. With KL Rahul out of form and Murali Vijay performing below average against New Zealand A, it would be ideal for the team to have someone like Mayank Agarwal in the ranks.
Mayank Agarwal, the prolific right-hand opening batsman from Bengaluru, has been in great form of late, scoring truckload of runs in the last two years. Mayank has also broken the 90-year-old record when he scored 1000 runs in a single month (27 days to precise) late last year.
Before 2016, he was inconsistent with this performances and had struggled to grab his opportunities. Below-par performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) did not help him either. However, post-2016, he has worked on his fitness in the offseason and found a rhythm, scoring consistently for his Ranji team-Karnataka. Good performances for Karnataka earned him a spot into the India A team where he got to work on his game closely with his idol Rahul Dravid.
"He is a person we always go to whenever we need some help, you know, for any kind of advice. He kept saying to repeat the process, stick to scoring runs, what has to happen, will happen. I just followed his advice, and it helped a lot” said the right-hander on Rahul Dravid when asked about the influence of his influence.
For his consistent performances, Mayank was called up to the national side for the home series against the West Indies in October. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it to eleven. To make things worse, his fellow Karnataka teammate flunked in the opportunities he got against the West Indies, prompting the selectors to choose a safe bet in Murali Vijay for the tour down under because of relatively lesser experience in KL Rahul and Prithvi Shaw.
With Shaw injured now, Mayank could fill the void in the team - at least for the first two games. Mayank, who has the blend of Sehwag and Dravid in him, is a good player of short bowling and that could give more reasons to have him the squad. He is currently playing for India A in Hamilton, New Zealand and has been consistent in the two games the team has played so far. He could quickly fly to Adelaide, which is 3 hours away from Hamilton.
The fans would be hoping for Prithvi Shaw’s speedy recovery. At the same time, hope KL Rahul and Murali Vijay make the most of their opportunity as they are now likely starters for the Adelaide Test which begins on December 6.