Mayank Agarwal taking over the captaincy duties for his struggling franchise Punjab Kings hours before the match despite and then playing a dazzling innings proves he isn’t bogged down by the weight of expectations, says former England batter Kevin Pietersen.
KL Rahul, the first-choice PBKS captain, has been diagnosed with acute appendicitis and is set to undergo surgery which has raised doubts over his participation in the rest of IPL 2021. Aside from being captain, Rahul is also perhaps the most important asset for the franchise as a player too as he’s also their leading run-getter of the season so far.
Add to this Agarwal didn’t play in PBKS’ morale-boosting with over Royal Challengers Bangalore last week and to make a comeback in the very next game, that too with added responsibility of leading the team, must have put the opener under pressure.
“I think I said on commentary that captaincy can go one of two ways. You can either deal with it, that weight of expectations that clearly is just thrown straight amongst what you got to do for your team. It can create pressure, you start to worry about your players, your team,” Pietersen said on Star Sports.
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“He also did not play the previous game and KL Rahul did so well so there has been so much pressure leading into this game. Yes, he has been playing so well and he is a quality player. But sometimes you do question yourself,” he added.
PBKS though lost to Delhi Capitals on Sunday night but it was Agarwal’s unbeaten 99 that helped his team to a decent total. And Pietersen has described that effort as ‘breathtaking’.
“But I tell you what, he may have questioned himself before the game, but there is no more question to answer. When you go out and play an innings like he has just played here for all of us to see. It is just breathtaking,” Pietersen said.