Former Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif feels Mayank Agarwal will now need to wait for his chances as KL Rahul had grabbed his opportunity with both hands in the opening Test match against England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
Meanwhile, Rahul played a Test match after a long gap of two years but he was able to grab his chance with both hands in the absence of Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal.
Rahul had to open with Rohit Sharma in the difficult English conditions against James Anderson and Stuart Broad and he was able to negate the new ball. Both the Indian openers provided the perfect platform for the team as they added 97 runs for the opening alliance. However, India lost four wickets in a jiffy but Rahul was able to hold one end up.
In fact, Rahul left the ball with aplomb, which is always crucial to be successful in the English conditions. The flamboyant batsman knew where his off-stump was and played the ball late, which is key in England. Furthermore, he forced England bowlers to bowl to his strengths as he was patient in his approach. Rahul went on to score 84 runs before he was dismissed by England veteran fast bowler James Anderson.
On the other hand, Mayank Agarwal doesn’t have the rub of the green as he was ruled out of the first Test match due to concussion. Agarwal is now available for selection but India might not change their opening combination as Rahul and Rohit did a fine job.
“He (Rahul) will play in the next couple of matches. He has sealed the deal. In the first Test, he held up his end and looked a much improved player. Mayank will have to wait now,” Kaif said during an interaction with the media on Wednesday.
“He has become more calm. Last time (in 2018) he looked to be rushing (for runs). This time he’s not looking to push for boundaries. He knows his role now – hang in there and when the bad ball comes, score,” Kaif said.
Kaif added that leading Punjab Kings in the IPL has helped Rahul improve as a batsman and he looks more matured while batting.
“Over the last two years, he has improved (as a batter), he’s captaining Punjab in IPL, and taken responsibility as a leader. His form in white-ball cricket is fantastic. He’s high on confidence, has taken stock of his game and all of this is coming together now,” he said.
“His form is a great sign for Indian cricket,” he added.