You’ve seen him knock it out of the park when he’s batted for Karnataka, in the IPL and even the Indian Test squad. But now, it’s time for him to shine in cricket’s biggest tournament — the ICC World Cup. Namma huduga Mayank Agarwal has made it to Team India’s WC squad, as replacement for Vijay Shankar who unfortunately injured his toe in a training session. While the news came as an absolute surprise for many who were wondering why he was chosen over Ambati Rayudu and other players, there are those who feel that the explosive batsman rightly deserved the call.
Among the plethora of Bengalureans who are thrilled about Mayank’s selection is cricket expert and keen follower of Karnataka and Indian cricket Rakshith Ponnathpur.
“We’ve talked about his red ball form so much that we’ve forgotten about the tons of runs he has scored in limited overs cricket for Karnataka and for India A on all overseas tours, including in English conditions. One should wait to see if they will play him or not, and if they do, whether as an opener or at number 4. I don’t see any value of him batting any lower than that. India has a middle-order problem and his inclusion does not change the scenario,” he says.
With Mayank having scored 442 runs including three hundreds in England as part of India A, Karnataka’s cricket fans are excited to see if he will get to display his batting prowess in England. KPL cricketer Prithvi Varadarajan, who’s a friend of Mayank’s and has played with the batsman and also against him says, “Of course, it’s a big deal to be chosen for the WC, but for him, I think getting into the Test side was a bigger deal — he got to play against Australia in their country! I was surprised he was picked over others as I thought Shubham Gill or Ambati Rayudu would’ve been considered. But with the way he’s performed, Mayank deserved it. I don’t know if he’ll have a prominent role though, as our team would ideally look at keeping the same combination. I’m not sure if he’ll be in the playing 11, but I’m sure he’s well-prepared in case he gets to play, which may happen only if Rishabh Pant fails badly,” says Prithvi, who was schoolmates with the cricketer.
Mayank has always been a good bet as an opening batsman and cricket analyst Harsha Priyadarshi feels that he’d do well as one. “Rahul can play at number 4 where he is more comfortable. People will question Mayank’s selection ahead of Rayudu’s but we need a player who has good technique in England pitches and Mayank has played well there previously and is also a great fielder. It’s a proud moment for Karnataka as two performing players in the World Cup are from our state,” he opines.
The fact that the Mayank hails from Karnataka is a matter of pride for many, including IT engineer Nitish Metikurke who’s a keen follower of state cricket. “He has been in a rich vein of a form for the last couple of years scoring heavily for both the state and India A. He’s had a major role in Karnataka’s treble winning season. I’m excited that he’s received his due. I hope to see him and KL Rahul bat together, maybe in the finals of the World Cup,” says the cricket buff who feels that Mayank is the better pick over Rayudu and others. “He’s scored tons of runs domestically the last couple of seasons. And even got a century in Australia in his debut series. If he can open, Rahul will drop to number 4 or he can bat at number four as well,” he adds.
Let’s hope that our lad gets to display his bombaat batting skills at the WC!...