NEW DELHI: Mayank Agarwal, who gave India strong starts with a couple of 70s two years back in Australia during the first two Tests of his career, has cut a sorry figure during this series. His altered stance is being blamed by his childhood coach and also by batting legend Sunil Gavaskar.
Agarwal has been bowled once, caught behind twice and out leg-before once while aggregating just 31 in four Test innings in Australia in this series. That he has faced 101 balls in these four innings proves that the Aussies have got his measure.
His struggles may force the Indian team management to replace him most probably with KL Rahul, or with Rohit Sharma for the third Test.
Former India captain Gavaskar had recently analysed his batting failure on an Australian TV network, and blamed his stance.
Gavaskar pointed out that Agarwal is standing at the crease with his legs much wider apart than during the 2018-19 trip to Australia.
“The (extra) width between his legs is not giving him the balance he needs to move either forward or back against the Australian bowlers. On pitches where there is going to be a little more bounce, you have to use your back-foot. He hasn’t used his back-foot. He has tried to get onto the front foot all the time,” said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar then talked of his dismissal against Mitchell Starc in the first innings of the second Test, saying: “The other mistake he makes is against a left-hand bowler over the wicket – he needs to open his stance a little bit. You just go a little bit (open) so you are going to see. If you are going to play with the normal stance, then you are just a little bit locked. So I believe if he can do that he gives himself a better chance for that ball curving in.”
Agarwal’s childhood coach Irfan Sait points out another change in his stance that has hurt his batting.
“Besides his legs stretched wide apart, his hand is too far behind. The raised top hand is near his right hip, when it should be near the belly button as it was earlier,” said Sait while speaking to IANS.
Sait is bemused by his ward’s poor performance and is wondering why and on whose advice has the right-handed batsman changed his stance.
In the first innings of the first Test, Agarwal was bowled through the gate by Pat Cummins for 17 off 40 balls and then was caught behind off Josh Hazlewood for nine off 40 balls in the second innings.
In the second Test, he was leg-before to a delivery curving in from Starc for a 6-ball duck and then was caught behind for five in the second innings.
It is unlikely that the Indian team will give him another chance with much more experienced players in Rahul and Rohit sitting in the bench and youngster Shubman Gill impressing on his first outing at Melbourne with delightful strokeplay.