Mayank Agarwal – A Tale of Hard Luck

Mayank Agarwal (Image source: Twitter)
Mayank Agarwal (Image source: Twitter)

Almost one month prior to the start of India’s tour of England, BCCI made an update regarding Shubman Gill’s shin injury. It stated that the youngster had been ruled out of the Test series in England.

Before that injury, he opened in the WTC Final, through which the Indian Team management made it quite clear that Gill is a preferred choice to partner Rohit Sharma over Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul.

But with Gill’s injury, the team was left without their preferred opener. And with no replacement announced, it was made obvious that Agarwal will be opening alongside Rohit, with Rahul being kept as a middle-order reserve.

Mayank, who last opened for India in December 2020, before getting dropped from the first eleven, was looking all set to get back the opening slot, which was occupied by Gill after performing brilliantly Down Under. Since the match in MCG, the Karnataka batsman had missed 6 out of 7 games that India played, playing only the Gabba game as a middle-order batsman.

But now, with the injury to Gill, he was back in contention for a place in the eleven. He even opened for India in the practice game ahead of the first Test.

Everything was going on the expected lines until a bouncer from Mohammed Siraj in the nets days before the start of the England series got the better of him and ruled him out of the first Test due to the resulting concussion.

His unavailability with no immediate replacement meant that the task of opening would be done by one off KL Rahul and Abhimanyu Easwaran. On an outside chance, also stood Hanuma Vihari who was given the same role in the 2018 tour to Australia.

The management went with the experience of KL Rahul in the first Test and he didn’t shy away from proving their decision correct by playing a gritty and top-scoring knock of 84 built around the adherence of the basics of the game. He also looked good in the 2nd innings before edging one to Buttler, departing on 26.

The combined tally of 110 runs in both innings guaranteed him a place in the second Test’s eleven.

But what about Mayank Agarwal who was available for the second Test ?

Mayank was made to warm the bench in the second Test as his statemate was given the nod for the opener’s spot. However, the ultimate team man showed no signs of disappointment, which was evident after he warmly welcomed the centurion, KL Rahul while he was heading towards the dressing room. Not only this, but the post-win celebration with Siraj was also a testimony of his sporting nature.

KL performing even better in the second Test looks to have extended Mayank’s bench time as far as this series is concerned but a team man like him, who competes with only himself, will show no signs of lowering his teamsmanship.

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