Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: After a long and frustrating wait, Mayank Agarwal deservingly got a call-up to the Indian Test team. The 27-year-old, who was roped in for the remaining two Tests against Australia, will walk out to open with Hanuma Vihari in the Boxing Day Test, which begins on Wednesday.

After regular openers Murali Vijay and Lokesh Rahul fared miserably in the first two Tests and India’s under-19 winning captain Prithvi Shaw was ruled out of the series due to an injury, Agarwal was flown in midway through the series.

The call-up may have come a tad late in his career, but the timing of his debut could not have been better for the Karnataka opener. With India desperately hunting around for a stable opening pair, Agarwal has earned himself a golden opportunity to seal his seat in the top order.

Certainly, Agarwal understands this well since it’s always been a case of so near yet so far for him. The swashbuckling batsman has been ignored repeatedly despite piling on buckload of runs in the domestic circuit since the previous season. Agarwal has an exceptional first-class record. He has played 46 first-class and 75 List A matches for Karnataka, averaging close to 50 in both, and scored his maiden triple century in November 2017.

His form speaks volumes of his batting ability. Before the 2017-18 season, Agarwal had scored 1,757 runs from his 29 first-class games but the 2017-18 season alone he slammed more than 2,000 runs, the most scored in a domestic season in India and in the process breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s domestic record of most runs in a List A series by an Indian batsman. He also was on fire for India ‘A’, scoring centuries during the tour of England and a double ton against South Africa ‘A’ in the home series.

Agarwal’s international debut was expected to happen much earlier when he was picked for the India’s Test squad for the two-match home series against the West Indies earlier this year. However, he did not get the look-in there and instead Shaw, who was handed a chance to shine, grabbed it with both hands with a century on debut.

That didn’t deter Agarwal, who went back to the domestic circuit and kept doing what he has does best — piling up more runs.

Now with the big day here, Agarwal, who idolises Virender Sehwag and has modelled his batting on the former Indian opener, will hope to emulate him and announce his arrival at the international level.