'They were architects of India's win in England': Bangar on why Mumbai Test star will remain back-up option in SA series

  • The South Africa Test series will begin from December 26 onwards with India plying three Tests against Dean Elgar-led side
File Image of Sanjay Bangar(Twitter)
File Image of Sanjay Bangar(Twitter)
Published on Dec 07, 2021 08:04 AM IST
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Under fire Mayank Agarwal scored an impressive 150 in the first innings of the Mumbai Test against New Zealand and followed it with an aggressive 62 in the second innings to win the Man of the Match trophy in India's record 372-run win. Yet, former batting coach of the Indian team, Sanjay Bangar believes that the opener will remain a third choice option for the Test series in South Africa, behind the pair of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma.

Mayank was under pressure when he had stepped in to open for India in Mumbai having returned with scores of 13 and 17 in the Kanpur opener. Responding to the dilemma over selection for the second Test, few opined that Mayank could be rested to make way for captain Virat Kohli, who had taken a rest from the first game. However, the opener responded with his fourth century in Test cricket, a score that single-handedly took India to 325 in the first innings.

Despite the efforts, Bangar felt it was a no-brainer that Rahul and Rohit would open for India given their performance in England. In four Tests in the England series, Rahul scored 315 runs at 39.37 with a century and a fifty while Rohit scored 497 runs, facing 1136 deliveries, at 45.18 with a century and three fifties.

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"Without a doubt it has to be KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma because yes Mayank scored brilliantly here but don't take anything away from KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma because they were the architects of India's performance in their win in England because of the way they batted. Rohit faced close to 1000 deliveries as an opener and when an opener does that much of a job for a side, it becomes a lot easier in overseas conditions when you are touring countries like South Africa or New Zealand or England. Your technique is tested against the swinging and seaming conditions," he told Star Sports.

Former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull, who was part of the same discussion, explained the technical issue behind Rohit and Rahul's selection ahead of Mayank.

"It's a tough one, I agree with Sanjay. When you look at South Africa, you want your best players of quick bowling and Rohit and KL are there are the moment. With Mayank there was a little issue he had in Kanpur, just that he cuts across the ball when it's a little bit moving, that might see him drop down the pecking order a bit. Wonderful player of the spin though," he explained.

Bangar then added that India will have an advantage this time when they travel to South Africa as many of their players have the experience of playing in the nation. Four of India's possible squad members including Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara have played five or more Tests in South Africa.

"The advantage for the Indian team will be that they have a sufficient number of players who have previously toured South Africa for a second or third time. Cheteshwar Pujara has toured South Africa three or four times. KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma have been there. The stage is set. If the top order can continue to do the job they did in England and the middle order supports them because at the moment they are not firing. The lower order has been contributing," he said.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022