VVS Laxman lauded Mayank Agarwal, after the opener scored match-winning 150 and 62 in the decider of the two-match Test series against New Zealand in Mumbai last week. Laxman was highly impressed with the right-hander’s “outstanding” strokeplay against Blackcaps spinners, especially Ajaz Patel.
Mayank Agarwal was at his fluent best in the second India-New Zealand Test in Mumbai last week, which the hosts went on to win by an innings and 372 runs. The opener top-scored with 150 in India’s first innings effort of 325 all-out, striking 17 fours and three sixes during his 99.5 overs stay at the crease.
He followed it up with 62 in the second innings, as India declared at 276/7. The right-hander has presented a strong case for himself to feature in India’s starting XI in the first Test against South Africa later this month, despite the return of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
"He has given a lot of importance to self-belief and it was great to see him coming in and expressing himself, and that's why he hit some outstanding shots, especially against Ajaz Patel. His shot over long-off and over extra cover for sixes are probably the best shots of his innings," Laxman said on Star Sports show Follow The Blues.
Agarwal had managed scores of 13 and 17 in the first Test in Kanpur, being dismissed by Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee in the two innings respectively. Laxman noted how the Karnataka batsman made slight technical adjustments, which made him excel against seam and spin alike.
"I think the difference between Kanpur and Mumbai was that there were slight technical adjustments he made, more so he trusted the game plan against Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee,” Laxman said.
"Because in Kanpur in both the innings he got out at balls that were pitching on and outside the off stump, whereas in Mumbai, especially in the first innings, he was ready to leave a lot of deliveries. He was keeping his front foot in the pitch of the ball and he was playing with a lot of discipline.
"But when the spinners came in he was using his feet a lot and I think he played with a mindset, which is similar to what he used to play in first-class and international cricket.”