Who would open the innings for India along with Sharma? (Getty Images)
Who would open the innings for India along with Sharma? (Getty Images)

'He has faced the New Zealand attack in New Zealand': Former Kiwi coach names India batsman who should open in WTC final

  • Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson feels Mayank Agarwal would be a better fit to open the batting for India against NZ in the WTC final.
By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 10, 2021 09:18 AM IST

One of the talking points leading up to the World Test Championships final is India's potential opening combination for the Test match starting at Southampton's Ageas Bowl. India have four specialist openers in their squad and one reserve opener for the tour of UK in Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul.

Although India have persisted with the combination of Rohit and Gill for the Australia Tests and the three-Test series against England at home, former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson feels Agarwal would be a better fit to open the innings in the WTC final starting June 18. Agarwal was India's designated opener but his place was taken by Gill after his heroics in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

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"They will probably go with Rohit and Shubman but I think Mayank needs to be considered. He has faced the New Zealand attack in New Zealand, where he would have got some crucial experience," Mike Hesson told PTI on Wednesday.

In the two-Test series against New Zealand in early 2020, Agarwal scored 102 runs with scores of 34 and 52 in Wellington. Agarwal last opened for India at the Boxing Day Test against Australia at the MCG. He was dropped from the team for the third Test in Sydney but returned to bat at No. 6 in the final match at the Gabba. Although he was part of India's Test squad for the home series against England, Agarwal did not get a game in the series.

Hesson weighed in on New Zealand's team selection for the second Test against England, indicating there is a good chance for left-arm quick Trent Boult to play the second match in Edgbaston. Given the WTC final, Hesson is confident the Kiwis might consider the workload of some players and shuffle them in the best interest of everyone involved.

"It is an issue. New Zealand will have to look at the bowling attack and that's potentially why Trent Boult will play this game (second Test against England from Thursday. That will give one of those other quicks to rest potentially, because it's only four days between each Test," Hesson said.

"So, three on the bounce is a big deal, especially if you put in 45 to 50 overs in the second Test, or they just decide to manage the workloads which is not something you usually do going into a Test match."

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