India vs Australia: Sunil Gavaskar backs Rohit Sharma to open with Mayank Agarwal in Sydney Test
Indian cricket great Sunil Gavaskar has backed Rohit Sharma to open with struggling Mayank Agarwal at the third Test between India and Australia in Sydney.
Mayank, who had a memorable debut in Australia two years back, has not lived up to his potential in the 2020-21 Border Gavaskar series. His scores from the last four innings read as 0, 5 and 17, 9. Gavaskar believes Mayank should not be treated harshly because of recent failures and must be given another chance.
"Mayank Agarwal has shown a very good temperament in the last year-and-a-half. Look at the way he has batted against South Africa, these are difficult times and every batsman goes through a lean patch. I would not be harsh on him and I will give him another go," Sunil Gavaskar told India Today.
Rohit, who missed the limited-overs leg and the first two Test against Australia due to injury and COVID-19 protocols, is expected to complete his quarantine period on Tuesday and following which, he'll be allowed to train with the rest of the Indian squad in Melbourne. He reached the team hotel in Melbourne on Wednesday and received a warm welcome from his coach and teammates.
With eight more days to go for the New Year's Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), the Mumbai batsman has ample time to get back into the groove and compete for the opening slot.
"Let Rohit and Mayank open in the third Test match. This is what I would think. This is up to Mayank now, to try and curtail the backlift and maybe narrow that stance that he has and look to be better. At one stage it looked like he would be the fastest Indian to get Test 1000 runs but he hasn't got because he is playing against fabulous new ball bowlers of Australia," Gavaskar added in the same interview.
Rohit, who averages 31 with the bat in Australia from five Tests, was in great form last year in the whites, scoring 556 runs including three centuries in six innings. He missed India's New Zealand tour in the beginning of 2020 due to an injury, where Virat Kohli and Co played two Tests and had lost both the games.
Last month, Team India kickstarted the Test series Down Under with a heavy loss in the day-night game. But, the touring side bounced back in a great manner as they sealed the second Test within four days. Even without Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, and Ishant Sharma, the Indian team that is being led by stand-in-skipper Ajinkya Rahane produced an overall terrific performance to seal the Boxing Day Test with a day to spare.
Rahane was awarded the Player of the Match for scoring a century in India's first innings. He became the first Indian player to score a century while leading in a Test Down Under and win the game.