Sachin Tendulkar, the former legendary Indian cricketer, reckons that Mayank Agarwal is a ‘confirmed starter’ for the four-match Test series against Australia. Back in December 2018, it was during India’s previous tour of Australia itself that the right-hander debuted in international cricket.
Ever since then, he has averaged a stunning 57.29 with three centuries and is also closing in on the 1,000-run mark. He has scored 974 runs in only 11 tests with 3 hundreds and 4 fifties.
Sachin Tendulkar: Mayank Agarwal Is A Confirmed Starter And Will Partner Rohit Sharma If He Is Fit And Available
Mayank Agarwal debuted against Australia on 26 December 2018, scoring 76 runs in his first innings at Melbourne. This was the highest score by an Indian cricketer on a Test debut in Australia. He played the 4th test also and finished the series with 195 runs.
Sachin Tendulkar selected Rohit Sharma as Mayank Agarwal’s first-choice opening partner. However, since Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the first two Tests, either Prithvi Shaw or KL Rahul should be partnering Mayank Agarwal at the top of the order.
India have Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Rohit Sharma, and Shubman Gill as specialist openers in their Test squad. However, Rohit Sharma is still undergoing rehabilitation at NCA at Bangalore and is certain to miss the first two tests failing to recover in time from a hamstring injury but played the last few matches in IPL 2020 with pain.
“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,” Sachin Tendulkar was quoted as saying in Hindustan Times.
India also have Shubman Gill as a genuine opener, but he is yet to debut in tests, though he has taken part in a couple of ODIs for Team India back in the 2019 tour of New Zealand.
Sachin Tendulkar: Indian Team Will Leave No Stone Unturned In Preparations
Last time around when India won the series 2-1 on Australian soil in 2018-19, David Warner and Steve Smith didn’t take part due to their 1 year suspension period due to ball-tampering allegations. However, both have found their lost form back after staging a comeback.
Moreover, Marnus Labuschagne has risen up the ranks in the last few years averaging 63.43 in 14 Tests with four tons. Sachin Tendulkar feels that the trio could be hard to be dismissed for the visiting side consisting of likes of pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
“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 Labuschagne 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,” he stated.
Sachin Tendulkar admitted that Virat Kohli missing the last three Tests to attend the birth of the first child would leave a massive void, but he also sounded confident about India’s bench-strength.
“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,” Sachin Tendulkar added.
The opening Test is scheduled to get underway on December 17 at the Adelaide Oval, and it will be a day-night affair. It also will be India’s first overseas day-night encounter after the pink ball test at Kolkata against Bangladesh.