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'Picked Agarwal as Back-up Opener on Management Request': Prasad Explains Call

Cricketnext Staff |July 24, 2019, 9:13 AM IST
'Picked Agarwal as Back-up Opener on Management Request': Prasad Explains Call

As the selectors announced their squads for the upcoming Test, ODI and T20 tour of West Indies, one of the statements made by chief selector MSK Prasad can particularly shed some light on how decisions on certain inclusions in the Indian team are made.

It is a known fact that in certain situations, the selectors will consult the team management and come up with a consensus on who will be given the honour of donning the India blue. So when during the recently concluded World Cup Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan was unfortunately injured after being India’s batting talisman in the first few matches, Rishabh Pant was chosen as his replacement – another left-hander, but not a natural opener.

Prasad has now shed some light on that decision, saying, “The team management asked for a left-hander, so we picked a middle-order batsman to replace an opener.”

It is very apparent from this that the team management’s request was what sealed the deal for Pant, with KL Rahul being bumped up the order to open alongside Rohit Sharma. Pant registered scores of 32, 48, 4 and 32 batting in the middle order, getting starts in every innings but failing to convert it into a big score.

As the tournament progressed, Vijay Shankar too was ruled out of action due to a toe injury, and this time, it was opening batsman Mayank Agarwal who got the call-up to join the team in England. Prasad’s explanation for this was, “The team management sent a written communication to send a cover for Rahul (when Vijay Shankar got injured). So we sent an opener for a middle-order batsman.”

Agarwal’s selection was thus more as an added option at the top of the innings, rather than being an immediate replacement for Shankar. Although apparent, it gives a glimpse into the thought process that was followed for filling up the replacement spots at the World Cup.

For the West Indies tour, Mayank Agarwal has been included in the Test squad, while Rishabh Pant has been included in the squad for all three formats. Shikhar Dhawan is part of the ODI and T20I squads.

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