Off The Field

‘He’s a confirmed starter’: Sachin picks Mayank Agarwal as India’s opener for Australia Tests

Written by Abhishek Patil

For the first time in his career, Mayank Agarwal has been named in all three formats of the Indian squad in an overseas tour. He earned his spot in the Indian T20I side following an impeccable run in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

Mayank garnered a massive 424 runs from 11 matches at a staggering strike rate of 156.45 for Kings XI Punjab. Along with KL Rahul, he formed the most promising opening pair of the tournament.

Mayank might face tough competition from KL Rahul, Shubman Gill for the opener’s spot in limited overs but legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar believes he is a sure-shot starter for the Tests.

India are gearing up to play a full series involving three ODIs – starting on November 27, three T20Is – starting December 4, and four Tests – beginning from December 17.

“Mayank, I know, is a confirmed starter because he has scored big runs and if Rohit is fit and available, then he should be there. Between other guys (Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul), that will be the management’s decision as they would be knowing who’s the form man,” said Tendulkar in an interview with the PTI.

Tendulkar also asserted that the Australian batting line-up looks much better at this point. He said, “Smith, (David) Warner and (Marnus) Labuschagne will be a factor and I am confident that the Indian team will leave no stone unturned as far as preparations are concerned. These two seniors back in the team and also with Labuschangne in there, it makes it a much better batting unit. It will be a bit more competitive series and I am sure India is ready for it,” said Tendulkar.

Like everyone else, Tendulkar also agreed that skipper Virat Kohli’s absence from three Test matches will create a void but at the same time, it would present an opportunity to someone else. Kohli will return after the first Test for the birth of his first child.

“Virat not being there without a doubt is a big void but also, on the other hand, the kind of bench strength that we have and the talent that is available, it is a good opportunity for somebody to establish himself,” Tendulkar said.

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Abhishek Patil