"He should be certain" - Sanjay Bangar on Mayank Agarwal being India's 3rd opener for the South Africa tour

Mayank Agarwal was India's top run-scorer in both innings of the Mumbai Test [P/C: BCCI]
Mayank Agarwal was India's top run-scorer in both innings of the Mumbai Test [P/C: BCCI]
Kartik Iyer

Sanjay Bangar believes Mayank Agarwal has sealed his spot as India's reserve opener for the upcoming Test series against South Africa.

Agarwal scored 150 runs in India's first innings of the ongoing Mumbai Test against New Zealand. He followed that up with a 62-run knock in the second essay.

During a discussion on Star Sports, Sanjay Bangar was asked if Mayank Agarwal has confirmed his spot as India's third opener after Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul for the South Africa tour. He responded:

"He should be certain. We hope that India has such an opener in the reserves who has found back his concentration and focus outside off stump. He is anyway an expert against the spinners and scores big runs."

The former India batting coach added that Mayank Agarwal's ability to play substantial knocks at the top of the order should hold him in good stead. Bangar observed:

"It is a thing of temperament because if a player can play a long innings and if he is at the top of your order, he can create a good foundation for your team to post a big score in the first innings."
Splendid half century to follow first innings ton. Mayank Agarwal making things easy or difficult for selectors mulling over players to pick for South Africa

Agarwal has converted four of his nine fifty-plus knocks in Test cricket into centuries. His four hundreds include two double tons and the 150-run knock at the Wankhede.

"It was a special Test match for Mayank Agarwal" - Sanjay Bangar

Mayank Agarwal spent almost ten hours in the middle across his two innings [P/C: BCCI]
Mayank Agarwal spent almost ten hours in the middle across his two innings [P/C: BCCI]

Reflecting on Mayank Agarwal's performance in the Mumbai Test, Sanjay Bangar highlighted that it was a herculean effort from the opener in trying conditions. He explained:

"His fitness was also tested because he batted all three days and the gap between India's two innings was only 28 overs, so he did not get much time and because of that, he went to the physio repeatedly. But it was a special Test match for him and the hope is that he will get chances like this going forward as well."
Grit, Determination & Resilience A test hundred is always special and this one will remain forever so.

The former India all-rounder also pointed out that Mayank Agarwal was distinctly unlucky not to get a chance in the Test series against England. Bangar said:

"He is a player who would have opened for you in England as well because KL Rahul was the designated middle-order batsman. He was unfortunately hit on the head while batting in the nets and because of that he had to miss the Test match and then he did not get an opportunity at all because KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma batted fantastically well."

The Indian selectors are likely to pick Mayank Agarwal as the reserve opener for the South Africa tour after his exploits in the second Test against New Zealand. Shubman Gill, the other main contender for the spot, could be considered for a middle-order spot in such a scenario.

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Edited by Sai Krishna
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