Former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman is disappointed with Indian Team management’s opening combination at Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Wednesday (December 26).
India opted for a new opening pair for the crucial third Border-Gavaskar series Test against Australia after KL Rahul and Murali Vijay failed to produce good runs in the first two Tests, as the management asked Hanuma Vihari to open innings along with debutant Mayank Agarwal in Melbourne.
Laxman feels it was unfair and unfortunate for the Andhra cricketer to open in an international match, as Hanuma has regularly played as a middle-order batsman in domestic cricket, as well as, in the previous three Test matches for Men in Blue.
While the management’s idea did not fit, as Vihari scored only 8 off 66 balls before being caught by Aaron Finch off Pat Cummins delivery, Agarwal was quite impressive in his debut, scored 76 off 161 against Australia, and Laxman sympathized with him as he was never open the innings in his career.
In an interaction with ESPN Cricinfo, Laxman said on Wednesday, “That’s where as team management you invest and support a player [so that] … the next Test he plays he can turn it around. It’s really unfair and unfortunate for Vihari to open in an international match. He was never done that in first-class cricket or any form of cricket.”
Meanwhile, the cricket pundit is surprised with the opening combination at MCG, as well as, believes that Murali and Rahul would not return for the Sydney Test, though, he feels that the veteran batsman should not have dropped from the squad for the ongoing Boxing Day Test against Australia.
He continued, “I’m very surprised with the opening combination. Especially on this tour, where Australia have got three quality fast bowlers, the importance of playing out over and seeing off the new ball so that the middle-order batsmen can come and play their style of cricket … so I am surprised.”
Laxman signed off by saying, “While Mayank Agarwal would have been an automatic choice, particularly when keeping in mind that Prithvi Shaw is out of the series and KL Rahul is struggling with his confidence level, I felt that Murali Vijay showed a glimpse of what Murali Vijay can do.”
(With ESPN Cricinfo Inputs)