'I've started reverse-sweeping against pacers, scored 2 T20 centuries': Axed India star 'not giving up' comeback hopes
With India's Playing XI across formats wearing a completely new look, the way back in the team for all ousted players appears a bridge too far to cross, although one batter is putting in the hard yards.
Being out of the Indian team is never easy, especially if you have been a part of it for a significant amount of time. In the last one year, several stars have had to make their way out of the Playing XI and subsequently the Indian squad due to lack of form, consistency and the rise of young and upcoming talents. For the longest time, the likes of Wriddhiman Saha, Ajinkya Rahane and Mayank Agarwal were almost guaranteed starters in India's Playing XI, whereas Prithvi Shaw was looked at as the next big thing. But their form faded and one by one, each was on his way out.
With India's Playing XI across formats wearing a completely new look, the way back in the team for all the ousted players appears a bridge too far to cross, although one batter is really putting in the hard yards. Mayank Agarwal, who last played for India in March, is making all the right noises. Once a certified starter in India's Playing XI, Agarwal has paid the price for a strong of low scores when he was left out of the squad after the home Test series against Sri Lanka. Hoping to make a comeback to Team India, Agarwal is ticking all the right boxes to give his international career another surge.
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"In the last four months, I've really worked hard on my batting. As you can see, I've started sweeping and reverse-sweeping the ball, that too against the fast bowlers. I've opened up four-five areas in my game which are paying rich dividends. I am very happy that the hard work I put in is paying off now," Agarwal told ESPNcricinfo.
Currently playing the Maharaja T20 Trophy which is a local tournament in Karnataka, Agarwal has been in red-hot form, scoring 480 runs in 11 innings for his team Bengaluru Blasters. Agarwal has notched up scores of 43, 44, 102 not out and an unbeaten 112 in his last 10 innings and has scored all these runs at an average of 53.33 and strike rate of 167.24. As compared to the low of IPL 2022, where he captained Punjab Kings scoring just 196 runs from 12 innings, Agarwal's current run in the Maharaja T20 is a stark contrast. He has smashed 50 fours and 20 sixes and brought up his centuries off 48 and 58 balls against Shivamogga Strikers and Gulbarga Mystics respectively.
"Getting two hundreds in a T20 tournament like the Maharaja Trophy feels amazing. It feels really nice when the players respond to you the way you want. Obviously runs behind my back really makes me feel good and then I can lead from the front," said Agarwal.