Sunil Gavaskar feels that Mayank Agarwal should be brought back into first XI conversations due to his impeccable record, and believes the management should use the warm-up games to choose between him and Shubman Gill. Mayank’s last Test appearance came at the famous Gabba Test in January.
Following Shubman Gill’s twin failures in the WTC final, Mayank Agarwal has resurfaced as a potential opening candidate and Sunil Gavaskar has thrown his weight behind the right-hander. Following an incredible start to this Test career, Mayank faltered post the first Test against New Zealand last year, posting scores of 7, 3, 17, 9, 0, 5, 38 and 9. And the horror run saw the Karnataka man be axed from the Test side. His place was taken by young Shubman Gill, but, post a fine 91 in Gabba, Gill himself has struggled for runs, scoring a solitary fifty in 9 innings.
Conversations surrounding a potential recall for Mayank have caught spark post Gill’s failure in the WTC Final, and Gavaskar believes that the management should use warm-up games in lead-up to the England Tests to identify Rohit Sharma’s opening partner for the five-Test series.
"Mayank Agarwal has done a really good job for India, twice he's scored a double century opening the innings. It’s a good thing that the BCCI and Jay Shah have taken the initiative to conduct some warm-up matches before the England Tests so there you can decide who between Gill and Agarwal can open for India," Gavaskar told Sports Tak.
"Make them open the innings together because Rohit Sharma is a certainly and he can be rested for a game. That would give you an idea who has the better technique for English conditions. And then based on that, they can make a decision whether they want to play Mayank Agarwal or Shubman Gill."
Mayank was ousted after a technical flaw - the high backlift rendering him vulnerable to balls coming into him - proved to be fatal, but Gill himself has had problems of his own. The youngster’s inability to transfer weight in the nick of time has made him an LBW candidate, and the 21-year-old was notably pinned in front of the stumps by Tim Southee in the second innings of the WTC Final. Gavaskar has advised the young opener to work hard on his footwork to be able to excel at the highest level.
"His (Gill's) footwork isn't much. He only goes in front and that's not the case with him only in England. Even in the series in India, there too, he had just one movement which is forward. There's no effort to go on the backfoot and that is why he plays across the line," Gavaskar pointed out.
"Because once your feet go forward, with that balance, it's tough to get back on the backfoot if the length is slightly short, is tough. So he needs to work hard, there's no doubt on his talent. But if he works a bit hard, he will get the reward."