India Test Opener Mayank Agarwal is likely to secure berth in India’s 15-member squad for their series against West Indies. Agarwal could be in line for his ODI debut replacing ace opener Shikhar Dhawan, who is yet to recover from his knee injury. The moustache rolling southpaw did not feature in T20Is against West Indies after he got deep wound on his knee during the domestic T20 tournament and therefore, Sanju Samson came as a replacement.
As per the reports, Dhawan’s injury is more serious than he apprehended and therefore, he is unlikely to recover in time for the ODIs. As a result, the selectors are planning to rope in Agarwal in place of Dhawan as a reserve third opener with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul (being the first-choice opening pair).
A senior BCCI source unveiled, "The selection committee has recommended Mayank's name as Shikhar's replacement after consultation with the team management. Dhawan is currently undergoing rehabilitation.”
Indian team is set to play three ODIs against the West Indies that is scheduled to start on 15 Dec in Chennai, followed by the second ODI in Vizag on Dec 18 and the final ODI in Cuttack on Dec 22.
Agarwal is most likely to receive a nod from the team management because he has showcased a stellar performance in Test cricket, scoring 872 runs at an average of over 67 with 3 hundreds and 3 fifties. He mustered 340 runs in three Tests against South Africa with a double century and a hundred and in the Test-series against Bangladesh as well, he racked up another double ton.
The selectors are keen on rewarding the 28-year-old with an ODI call-up as the source stated, “Mayank along with Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill were the three choices that selection committee had. But team management believes that Mayank’s List A record of 50 plus average and 100 plus strike rate with 13 hundreds is good enough to try him out in this format”.
This is not the first time Agarwal has been called up to the national squad. Earlier, when Vijay Shankar was ruled out of 2019 World Cup because of his toe injury, then Agarwal joined the team as a replacement.
The selectors have also hinted that they don’t see Dhawan as part of the 2023 ODI World Cup, considering his present form. A source close to the team management concluded while saying, “It is time that we create a pool of openers and look at all the potential options who could partner Rohit”.