Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson opined that India should play ignored opener Mayank Agarwal instead of going with the much-hyped combination of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. Hesson cites Agarwal's experience of facing New Zealand bowlers during 2020 will benefit India in the final.
With less than 10 days left for the inaugural World Test Championship finals, both India and New Zealand are gearing up to put their hands on the coveted cup. The latter is currently occupied with England in a two-match Test series, while India won’t have any practice match before they meet the Black Caps on June 18.
India are likely to open with a recently formed combination of senior man Rohit Sharma and the prodigy Shubman Gill. The Sharma-Gill duo have brought a drastic change in Indian batting by endorsing an attacking brand of cricket in Tests. So far in the 10 innings, they have accumulated 296 runs with 71 being their highest partnership in Sydney.
However, New Zealand’s former coach Mike Hesson varies from India’s stance on the selection of the opening pair, stating Mayank Agarwal should be the ideal choice to fit in one of the given slots. Hesson cited Agarwal’s experience facing New Zealand bowlers in New Zealand back in 2020 might benefit India. Agarwal managed to hit 102 from four innings at an average of 25.50 and strike rate of 51.00 on that tour.
“They will probably go with Rohit and Shubman but I think Mayank needs to be considered. He has faced the New Zealand attack in New Zealand, where he would have got some crucial experience,” Hesson told PTI, reported Times of India.
Many pundits have raised their voice on India having a disadvantage because of lack of match practice as the Kiwis will come fresh from England series and will get acclimatized to the conditions. But Hesson had a different stance as he pointed to India’s big-sized squad where they can split into two teams and conduct intra-squad matches.
Rishabh Pant, who is the favourite to don the gloves ahead of Wriddhiman Saha, has undergone a massive transformation in recent months. He played an important role in India’s series win against Australia becoming the wrecker-in-chief in the Brisbane Test to help India chase 329 in the final overs. Hesson feels Pant is a free-flowing batsman and has immense confidence that has made him settle in international cricket.
“I think he’s (Pant) more confident, more settled on the international stage now. Therefore, he’s able to play the way he wants to play. He has earned enough credit within his team as well.
Earlier Pant was criticised by the cricketing world for lack of composure and throwing away his wicket in the middle by attempting rash shots. Hesson said he enjoys watching Pant bat and credits the Southpaw for putting a lot of hard work behind his technique.
“He also does the hard work first, so it’s not a reckless play. He allows himself that chance to show a bit of flair, which we all enjoy watching,” Hesson said.