India is set to lock horns against Windies in the second Test from October 12. The hosts have already won the first Test and will enter the second Test as the favourites. The Test is also an opportunity for India to test their bench strength and the focus should be on Mayank Agarwal, India’s third opener.
One of the key reasons why Agarwal must feature in the playing XI is the fact that India’s next Test assignment is the tour of Australia which is sure to test India’s batting line-up. And currently India’s top-order is highly fragile.
India have dropped Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan which means both slots for openers are open. The team is backing KL Rahul as the first opener and although Prithvi Shaw oozed class in his debut Test he still has a long way to go.
Hence it makes perfect sense to have a third opener with some match practice as a cover for the Australia Test series.
The right-hand batsman from Karnataka was running riot in the domestic cricket in the last season with his mammoth scores and maverick batting style.
Agarwal scored vital knocks in all formats of India’s domestic cricket and made the most of the chances he received in India A matches.
Picking him in India’s squad is an obvious reward to his outstanding consistency but playing him in the second Test will do a world of good to his confidence.
It will work as an incentive and will keep him excited to perform in the future.
There is a massive difference in quality in India and Windies in Tests. Plus the home advantage has heavily tilted the balance in India’s favour.
Hence taking the risk of playing Agarwal in the second Test won’t affect India’s strength significantly.
It will be a massive gamble to play Agarwal against Australia in Australia as his debut Test but making him play against Windies makes much more sense as this is the ideal chance for India to check the mettle of their players.