Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has slammed the team management for showing the exit door to Mayank Agarwal to accommodate Rohit Sharma at the top. Agarwal, who managed to score only 31 runs in the first two Tests of the series, was replaced by Rohit, who was also named Ajinkya Rahane's deputy for the remaining two games.
While many believed that Rohit's inclusion will bolster the batting unit, some felt that it was unfair to drop Agarwal from the playing XI. Agarwal, who averages 47.85 in the traditional format of the game, should've been included as the opener, according to Manjrekar. The cricketer-turned-commentator also said that youngster Shubman Gill should've been pushed down in the middle order.
"Rohit Sharma does not have bad numbers at the No.6 position, where he has played 25 innings. But his recent exposure in Test matches has been as an opener and there he has a very good average. But he has never opened in overseas conditions. He was not there in New Zealand and last time when he was here in Australia, he was playing down the order. So, it will have to be seen how he plays against the swinging ball," he said.
"But the person they have dropped, it has again become a tactic of rejecting players and not selecting. If it was upto me, I would have kept Mayank Agarwal in the team because he is a young player, has been in good form. I would have kept Shubman Gill down the order with Rohit Sharma as an opener."
After levelling the four-Test series with a comprehensive victory in Melbourne, Ajinkya Rahane-led Indian unit will be eyeing to gain a 2-1 lead by defeating mighty Australians in the third Test at the SCG. In absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, the Indian contingent put up a commendable effort at the MCG, recovering sharply from their horror batting collapse in the first Test at Adelaide Oval.
On the first day of the on-going Sydney Test, the hosts ended up scoring 166/2, with debutant Will Pucovski and Marnus Labuschagne notching up half-centuries. Steve Smith was on 34 and Labuschagne on 67 at stumps.