India vs Australia 2019: Why Mayank Agarwal deserves to be considered for the ODI series
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is almost five months away. That means there is still more than two months' time before the deadline to announce India's World Cup squad is upon us.
However, tomorrow's team meeting to decide the squads for India's upcoming T20 and ODI tournaments against Australia at home will set the tone for the World Cup.
The squad for the upcoming set of tournaments against Australia - India's last international outing before the World Cup - will say a lot about the contenders for India's World Cup squad. While some experts are demanding rest for the main players, others want the team to go full strength against the defending World Cup champions.
Many are of the view that while fringe players can be tested during the T20 leg and the first couple of ODIs, the team should go full strength during the second half of the ODI series. Most of the experts don't mind the main players skipping a few IPL matches instead.
Of the youngsters who made their debut for the national side in the last year or so, one who has impressed the most is Mayank Agarwal. Even Virat Kohli acknowledged how Agarwal's performances in the last two Test matches in Australia were instrumental in India's first ever series victory Down Under in over 70 years.
Agarwal made his international debut during the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne after scoring heavily at the domestic level in back-to-back seasons. In his first three international innings, he registered scores of 76, 42 and 77 against arguably the best bowling attack on the latter's home turf.
The most impressive thing about Agarwal's game is that it has the perfect mix of aggression and caution. He is fit, young and fearless - something he proved on his first ever international outing.
Had it not been for a minor finger injury, Agarwal would have been selected for the New Zealand tour too, after the suspension of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul. However, after the confirmation of his injury, Shubman Gill was picked instead.
Gill failed to make a mark in his first two ODIs, although the youngster cannot be blamed as the whole batting lineup struggled to score in those matches.
If you look at India's current talent pool emotionally, there are dozens of players you would want the team management to try out before the World Cup. But Agarwal, at least now, deserves to get selected more on the basis of merit than anything else.
He has scored heaps of runs for his state side Karnataka and India A over the last two years. And he further reinforced his fitness and form with a 95 in the first innings of the Irani Cup encounter between his team Rest of India and Ranji winners Vidarbha.
With a solid technique and a calm mind, Agarwal could well be the back-up opener India need for the World Cup. He performed well during India A's tour of England last year, and would be raring to go whenever he gets a chance.
Remember, it was the same effervescence in the form of Virat Kohli, which was instrumental in India winning the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai.