"The way Mayank Agarwal has got out in the last few innings worries me" - Sanjay Manjrekar after Day 2 of 3rd India vs South Africa Test

Sanjay Manjrekar opines on Mayank Agarwal's form.
Sanjay Manjrekar opines on Mayank Agarwal's form.
Rudransh Khurana

Sanjay Manjrekar is worried about Mayank Agarwal's mode of dismissals in his last few innings. He observed that the opening batter is poking at deliveries outside the off-stump with hard hands, which is a problem that needs to be worked upon soon.

Agarwal started the three-Test series against South Africa on a promising note, scoring a 123-ball 60 in difficult conditions in Centurion. But his form tapered off after that, with scores of 4, 26, 23, 15, and 7 in the next five innings.

He was caught at slips while trying to drive good length deliveries outside the off-stump in both innings of the ongoing Test. Speaking in this regard on an interaction with ESPNcricinfo, Manjrekar said:

"How you get out is very important for a coach or a selector to decide the future of a player and the way Mayank Agarwal has got out in the last few innings worries me. Until this Test match, I thought he was shaping well and he might [have found] a way to come with softer hands on the ball, leave balls outside the off-stump. Outside the off-stump, that channel is tricky to handle. Different batters handle it differently. Virat Kohli these days leaves everything outside the off-stump, some people play and are very confident. Mayank Agarwal needs to find a way to tackle that line."

Manjrekar added:

"At the moment, he's coming with two hard [hands], with a high backlift and the bat is coming hard on the ball. The slip catches [off his bat] are also going so quickly to the catchers to suggest it's coming very hard. So Mayank Agarwal has a problem and that's I guess work for the batting coach and Rahul Dravid."

Looking at the bigger picture, Manjrekar also noted that the series has been a show of two quality bowling attacks against two 'weak' batting lineups so far. Manjrekar explained:

"We are looking at two quality bowling lineups, but the fact also remains that we are seeing two not-so-great batting lineups. One is South Africa that's weak on ability, to begin with; India of course [is] not weak in ability but on form - a lot of them are off the boil a little bit. So it's the story of two teams with weakness in the batting lineup."

Agarwal was equally bullish on his off-side strokeplay in that first innings of the series. But he got away with a few close calls and made the South African pacers pay for their inconsistent lengths. The Proteas bowlers have since been on the money, exposing the right-hander's weaknesses on quicker pitches.

The 60 in the first innings at Centurion is the only 50+ score for Mayank Agarwal in the last 14 innings in away Tests.#India #SouthAfrica #SAvIND

The series was a crucial opportunity for Agarwal to perform in the absence of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. He would not be happy with just 135 runs from six innings.

"I just have no faith in this South African batting lineup" - Sanjay Manjrekar

STUMPS on Day 2 of the 3rd Test.#TeamIndia 223 & 57/2, lead South Africa (210) by 70 runs.Scorecard -… #SAvIND

Despite Agarwal and KL Rahul's early dismissals, India raced to a 70-run lead at the end of Day 2.

Manjrekar insisted that, barring Dean Elgar, he has "no faith" in the hosts' batting lineup, adding that a 200-run target should be enough for Team India. Manjrekar said:

"I just have no faith in this South African batting lineup. If Dean Elgar plays well, there's some hope. But when you have a batting lineup of the kind where Marco Jansen is coming so up the order, I think 200 should be enough for India's bowling attack. The kind of attack they have, with Bumrah now finding a way to bowl outside the off-stump so runs should be hard to come by. The last time they chased 240 was a combination of Elgar playing one of his best innings and India bowling poorly. That's unlikely to happen everytime."

The third day of the Test will resume at 2:00 pm IST on Thursday.

Edited by Samya Majumdar
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