VVS Laxman has cast his vote for KL Rahul ahead of Mayank Agarwal as Rohit Sharma’s opening partner for the upcoming Test series against England.
Team India will have to choose between KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal after Shubman Gill was ruled out of the Test series against England. Abhimanyu Easwaran, who was initially part of the reserves, has also been added to the main Indian squad though. But he will not be in starting XI due to his minimal experience as he is yet to debut.
VVS Laxman Wants KL Rahul To Open For Being A Class Batsman
During a discussion on Star Sports, VVS Laxman opined that KL Rahul should bat at the top of the order.
He reasoned: “I want KL Rahul to open because he is a class batsman. He has shown that by scoring a century as an opener in an overseas series. There is no option better than him in the Indian team. Mayank Agarwal is there for sure, but I would back KL Rahul to open with Rohit Sharma.”
However, the former Indian batsman expressed surprise at the team management’s decision not to make KL Rahul open in either inning of the warm-up encounter.
“But I am a bit surprised that he batted in the middle order in both innings of the warm-up match. Does it mean that the selectors and team management want him to bat in the middle order and not as an opener? This I don’t know.”
KL Rahul, who also kept wickets in the practice match against a County Select XI, scored a century while batting in the middle order.
VVS Laxman: It Will Be Challenging For Mayank Agarwal To Think Which Tactics Should Be Employed Against England
VVS Laxman was also asked about the pressure on Mayank Agarwal, who is likely to open in the first Test, because of Prithvi Shaw being flown over.
He responded: “The insecurity is always there when you play international cricket. As a batsman, you want to execute your formula whenever given a chance and you will give a better performance if you think about what you can control. So Mayank Agarwal has the challenge on what tactics to employ against Jimmy Anderson, Broad and other England bowlers and give a good performance.”
VVS Laxman signed off by pointing out that Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav are only being sent across as cover for any further injuries.
“I feel Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav have been called because there are five Test matches and it is the Covid situation where you have to quarantine and stay in the bubble as well. So it is better to have as many opening batsmen options as possible.”
BCCI initially decided not to send a replacement for the injured opener Shubman Gill. But with Washington Sundar and Avesh Khan also getting ruled out of the series, Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav are being sent as reinforcements. KL Rahul is seen as an opener rather than a middle-order batsman.
However, with Mayank Agarwal set to open with Rohit Sharma and if either falls early, KL Rahul will be facing the new ball anyway and could offer a realistic chance to fight back. That he is in fine form in the IPL and carried that in the warm-up match against Select County XI, slamming a century will offer Virat Kohli & Ravi Shastri hope.
However, what goes against him is his stats at No 3 in Test. While KL Rahul has been relatively successful as an opener, he hasn’t done well at No 3. In five innings at that position, he has averaged only 17.60 with just a 50 to his name. But at this point, India does not have an option other than backing KL Rahul or Hanuma Vihari.