However, TOI has learnt from reliable sources that the aggressive opener is still unlikely to find a spot in the India’s limited-overs squads for the series against the West Indies next month. India play three T20Is against the Caribbean team, with the first game scheduled here on December 6.
“Where is the space in the opening department in the limited overs team? Rohit (Sharma) and Shikhar (Dhawan) are your established openers. There’s no slot at the top for even someone like KL Rahul now. Virat (Kohli) will come back into the team as well,” said a source.
According to him, the selectors aren’t too worried about Dhawan’s modest strike rate, which has come in for criticism with a few former India cricketers even questioning his place in the side during the T20I series against Bangladesh.
“Players can go through ups and downs. Mayank can only come in only if Rohit or Shikhar want to take rest, but he won’t be rushed into the T20 side,” he said. However, both have hardly taken rest in recent times.
To break into India’s T20 side, Agarwal, who has smashed two double hundreds in his first eight Tests, needs to enjoy a good IPL for Kings XI Punjab next year. “Let him score runs in the IPL. Firstly, he has to be played consistently by his franchise,” said another source.
Agarwal has a fabulous record in List A cricket, where he has slammed 13 hundreds, and enjoys an average of 50.90 and a strike rate of 101.57. The Karnataka batsman was sent as a late replacement for Vijay Shankar during the World Cup in UK, though he didn’t get a game.
On Sunday, former India player and cricket analyst Deep Dasgupta backed the idea of trying out Agarwal in the shorter formats. “It would be a great thing if the Indian team management has Mayank in mind as an opening option. In fact, he is a natural white ball player, who has wonderfully transformed and adapted to the needs of red ball cricket,” Dasgupta told news agencies.
Kohli, Rahane skip pink ball practice
After clinching the first Test inside three days, Team India chose to stay back in Indore to practice with the pink ball to prepare for the D/N Test in Kolkata. However, India captain Virat Kohli and deputy Ajinkya Rahane returned to Mumbai.