India head coach Ravi Shastri has cheekily responded to former Australia cricketer-turned commentator Kerry O'Keeffe's insulting remark that were directed towards the debutant opener Mayank Agarwal and Indian domestic bowlers.
During the opening day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, O'Keeffe had taken a dig at Agarwal’s top score of 304* in first-class cricket, saying that his triple ton in Ranji Trophy came against "canteen staff and waiters". O'Keeffe's comment had certainly tickled a raw nerve and a lot of criticism was directed his way.
Shastri, however, decided to counter O'Keeffe with a witty response as he spoke to Fox Cricket after the end of second day’s play at the MCG.
"He [Mayank] has got a message for Kerry... 'when you do open your canteen, he wants to come and smell the coffee. He wants to compare it to the ones back in India...coffee here's better or the ones back home'," Ravi Shastri quoted.
Meanwhile, Agarwal started his Test career brilliantly, scoring 76 runs off 161 balls to lay the foundation for India’s massive first innings total. The Karnataka lad put on 40 runs for the opening wicket with Hanuma Vihari before sharing a 83-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara (106).
Talking about India’s dominant batting that show the visitors posting 443/7 (declared) in the first innings, Shastri was full of praise for Mayank and Pujara.
"Mayank Agarwal...let's not take it from him. We could have easily been three down for 80 and then it would have been a different ball game. He dug deep," Ravi asserted.
"He [Pujara] has not had enough. He is going to take that bat and sleep with that bat. That's Puji for you. He is a good old-fashioned cricketer. He might not be the ideal player that crowds want to see but my word when the conditions become like this, he is the one who digs deep. Puts a price tag on his wicket. He played magnificently especially after the platform he was given yesterday," he concluded.
Virat Kohli's bold declaration allowed India bowlers to have a crack at Australian openers in the last 20 minutes of the final session. However, the hosts finished the second day on 8/0 with openers Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch batting on 5* and 3* respectively.