Mayank Agarwal, Punjab Kings’ stand-in captain, has said that changes in the batting position of Chris Gayle and Dawid Malan are possible, after their loss to the Delhi Capitals on Sunday in Ahmedabad.
Dawid Malan, the number 1 ICC T20I batsman, was given his maiden IPL cap replacing the out-of-form Nicholas Pooran. The Englishman, however, had to bat at number 4, and not number 3 where he does for the England T20I side as that slot was occupied by Chris Gayle since last season.
Now with KL Rahul away from the tournament – possibly ruled out given the recovery plus quarantine time – due to acute appendicitis, Gayle could have been slotted at the opening position back, where he has earned all the success in T20 cricket. However, instead, Agarwal, who returned to the side in place of Rahul, was partnered by Prabhsimran Singh, who had earlier came in place for Agarwal.
Prabhsimran has scored 19 runs in 2 games opening the batting at a strike rate of 82.61. Hence, there is a possibility for both Gayle and Malan to be promoted one slot ahead, especially now the move is feasible with the batting depth provided by Harpreet Brar and Chris Jordan.
“That’s something (Gayle or Malan) we have to speak about but for the moment this is the strategy that we went with and we got a decent score. May be probably 10 runs short,” said Mayank Agarwal at the post-match press conference.
I had been kept in loop, There was enough time to prepare: Mayank Agarwal
While Mayank Agarwal was given the captaincy with immediate effects, after KL Rahul’s sudden injury, however, the 30-year-old says that he has been part of the leadership group, and had been involved in the team meetings from the start.
Mayank Agarwal, who has been with Punjab since 2018 so has been KL Rahul, slammed an unbeaten 99* off 58 balls and carried the side to a respectable total, which he felt was probably 10 runs short as it was then chased down comfortably by the Capitals’ batsman.
“I had been kept in loop. Through the season we were there in meetings. There was enough time to prepare. We turned up decently, would have liked more aggression though.“When you play as a batsman, you don’t think like a captain, you execute your role as a player. When you are captain and batting, you want to take extra responsibility,” he further added.
With their 5th loss in 8 games, the chances of Punjab making it into the playoffs have taken a nosedive. They will next face the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday.