India opener Mayank Agarwal will open India’s innings in a three-day match against County XI starting Tuesday. The match is a first-class match, the first time in the last several years with the Indian team. In this game, the team’s management eyes are on Mayank, as the injured Shubman Gill is likely to form the opening pair with Rohit Sharma in the first Test after being left out of the series. Mayank also tries to capitalize on this opportunity and wants to secure his place in the Test squad again.
Mayank is not in good condition after his tour of Australia. He has been in the last 11 since Rohit came to Australia. His good friend KL Rahul will lead the chase in the absence of regular wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant. According to BCCI sources, after testing positive for COVID-19, Pant has completed a 10-day quarantine in London and is recovering, but must attend the team’s Bio-Bubble in Durham. A BCCI official, in anonymity, said: “Even if the practice match has reached pant time, they will be rested enough to regain the fitness they need. He has no symptoms but needs to practice well before the opening Test in Nottingham.
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“As a precaution, Pant and Wriddhiman, who are spending time in Carrentine, will be available for the first Test,” he said. Rahul will play the wicket-keeper in this practice match. Rahul has scored more than 2000 runs in his Test career. If one of the experienced batsmen (Ajinkya Rahane) fails to find the rhythm, Rahul can be used as a middle-order batsman.
The County XI team consists of mostly young players, with James Bracey currently only part of the England international team. India may try both Rahul and Mayank in the second innings. But since the match is three days away, the chances of a second innings are not high. In the bowling department, Mohammad Siraj wants to test himself and Jaspreet Bumrah wants to get some wickets to gain momentum.
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