The final Test of the series, to be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai from Friday, will see the return of Team India's regular skipper Virat Kohli. One of the batters will have to make way for him if the hosts opt to stick with their five-bowler theory.
While previewing the Mumbai Test in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra felt Mayank Agarwal might be made to sit out the encounter. He said:
"What can the Indian team do, what will they be thinking at the moment? Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal as they say is the weakest link, you can drop him easily and no one will talk about it. That's a likelihood, it can happen."
The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Mayank Agarwal might have to pay the price as he may not be in the Indian team's scheme of things for the South Africa tour. Chopra explained:
"It can happen because when you look towards South Africa, you say who you might require the most, who can be utilized more. You will say Shubman Gill will surely be your third opener. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul makes it your three openers, Mayank Agarwal might not be in my team at all, even if he is there, no chance in the XI."
Mayank Agarwal has an outstanding overall record as an opener in Indian conditions. However, he has been afflicted with technical issues lately and has looked out of sorts in the middle.
"Mayank Agarwal becomes the weakest link" - Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra added that Mayank Agarwal's spot becomes vulnerable because it is difficult to drop Ajinkya Rahane, who was the skipper in the last match. He elaborated:
"So, Mayank Agarwal becomes the weakest link there. Ajinkya Rahane is not the weak link there because you are thinking that Cheteshwar Pujara is also not in great form and Ajinkya Rahane is there with you, he was the captain in the last match and is he not even worthy of being in the team now."
The former India opener added that Team India might also feel that Rahane will be more useful than Mayank Agarwal in South African conditions. Chopra observed:
"It looks ironical if you talk like that. If you look ahead, it is certain that you will need him [Rahane] more than Mayank Agarwal in South Africa. So, you might think that you keep Ajju here and keep Shreyas Iyer also, and ask Pujara to open."
However, Aakash Chopra concluded by highlighting that while such a decision would give a long rope to Rahane, justice would not be meted out to Agarwal. He reasoned that the 30-year-old opener was made to bat in the middle order in Brisbane and would be dropped after just two low scores at home.
Q. Should Ajinkya Rahane be preferred over Mayank Agarwal?
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