'You have to replace him when Rohit returns': Ex-Pak skipper wants India to drop senior batter to fit in in-form Mayank

Updated on Dec 27, 2021 11:16 PM IST

In Rohit's absence, Mayank scored a gritty 60 and stitch a record 117-run stand alongside KL Rahul to get India off to a brilliant start in Centurion in the opening Test against India on Sunday.

India's Mayank Agarwal during the Test Cricket match between South Africa India at Centurion Park in Pretoria, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021(AP)
India's Mayank Agarwal during the Test Cricket match between South Africa India at Centurion Park in Pretoria, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021(AP)

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt feels that India might look to drop senior batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, if he continues his poor run of form, in a bid to make way for “in-form” batsman Mayank Agarwal in the Test line-up when Rohit Sharma returns to the team. 

Mayank wasn't India's first-choice opener for the South Africa Test series despite his impressive show in the second Test against New Zealand at home earlier this month. However, with the veteran opener missing out on the series owing to an hamstring injury, Mayank was handed a massive opportunity and he made the most of it to score a gritty 60 and stitch a record 117-run stand alongside KL Rahul to get India off to a brilliant start in Centurion in the opening Test against India on Sunday.  

Follow Live Blog here: India vs South Africa Live Score, 1st Test, Day 2

Pujara, on the other hand, recorded his second career golden duck in Test cricket on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test. Overall, it is his 11th duck and fourth this year. With the score, he has now gone 43 innings in Test cricket without scoring a century. The last hundred came in January 2019, in Sydney against Australia when he had scored 193.

With Mayank proving his worth, Butt, while talking to fans on his YouTube channel, opined that India might want to retain the batsman in the line-up and drop Pujara to fit him in.

“He is not in form now. So you have to replace him when Rohit Sharma returns because you cannot drop an in-form player. And I was never in favour of that move. They left out Shreyas Iyer despite that performance (against New Zealand). India have always backed their senior players, which is good, but Pujara needs to score runs,” he said. 

Mayank and Rahul helped India finish with 272 for three at the end of Day 1. Rahul scored a record 122*, which now the highest score by an Indian opener in a Test in South Africa and became the third Indian batter to score a hundred in a match in Centurion. 

Rohit, meanwhile, is expected to return for the ODI series against South Africa which will begin from January 19.

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