With Shubman Gill out of the series due to injury, Mayank Agarwal is likely to open the innings for India alongside Rohit as the management is looking to slot in KL Rahul in the middle-order.
Agarwal opened the innings during the three-day warm-up game against County Select XI last month while KL Rahul batted in the middle-order where he scored a brilliant unbeaten hundred.
VVS Laxman, who believes that KL Rahul is ideal to open the innings in the Test series, expressed his astonishment at the fact that the team management played KL Rahul in the middle-order during the practice game.
“I want KL Rahul to open because he is a class batsman. He has shown that by scoring a century as an opener in an overseas series. There is no option better than him in the Indian team. Mayank Agarwal is there for sure, but I would back KL Rahul to open with Rohit Sharma,” said VVS Laxman on Star Sports.
“But I am a bit surprised that he batted in the middle order in both innings of the warm-up match. Does it mean that the selectors and team management want him to bat in the middle order and not as an opener? This I don’t know.” added Laxman.
‘It is better to have as many opening batsmen options as possible’- VVS Laxman
With Prithvi Shaw set to fly to England as a backup opener, the pressure will be on Mayank Agarwal to hold on to his spot in the playing XI.
Laxman admitted that every player goes through insecurity in international cricket and the challenge for Mayank will be what tactics he employs to counter the threat of the English seamer, especially James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
“The insecurity is always there when you play international cricket. As a batsman, you want to execute your formula whenever given a chance and you will give a better performance if you think about what you can control. So Mayank Agarwal has the challenge on what tactics to employ against Jimmy Anderson, Broad and other England bowlers and give a good performance.” said Laxman.
VVS Laxman backed India’s decision to fly in backup batters in the form of Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav as he feels that one needs to have as many options as possible in the Covid era.
“I feel Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav have been called because there are five Test matches and it is the Covid situation where you have to quarantine and stay in the bubble as well. So it is better to have as many opening batsmen options as possible,” he said.
The five-match Test series between England and India will kickstart at Trent Bridge, Nottingham from August 4.