New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar picked Mayank Agarwal and Marnus Labuschagne as the players to watch out for from the Indian and Australian camps respectively in the forthcoming four-Test series, saying that the Indian opening batsman showed his teammates the way to tackle off-spinner Nathan Lyon during the 2018-19 series.
Gavaskar’s one-time rival and the man who broke his record for most Test runs, Allan Border picked pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah and Cameron Green as players who will light up the series.
“For me the player to watch out for would be Mayank Agarwal, because he came to Australia for the last couple of Test matches two years ago and showed the way. Till then India had not got any start but he batted brilliantly. He actually showed (the Indian batsmen) how to tackle Nathan Lyon because he was stepping down the pitch lofting him straight, the freshness of youth or whatever (could be the reason) and since then he has only become better. He has gone from strength to strength,” said the batsman who was the first to get to 10,000 runs.
“Look at the season here last year, where he scored (two) double hundreds against South Africa (in a series). He is the guy I am looking forward to in this series and from Australia.”
Agarwal, who made his debut in the Boxing Day Test during India’s previous tour in 2018-19 got a couple of 70s in three innings. He averages over 57 in 11 Test matches in his career.
Gavaskar added that he is also looking forward to watching Australia’s No.3 Marnus Labuschagne bat. The 26-year-old has played 14 Tests since making his debut two years ago and has scored at an average of over 63.
“I am looking at this new kid on the block Marnus Labuschagne. When Sachin Tendulkar says that Labuschagne reminds him of him then, man, that is an ominous sign for the bowlers of the world, not just India’s bowlers but bowlers of the world. So I am looking to watching this bloke,” said Gavaskar.
Border, meanwhile, said that he is looking forward to watching Bumrah bowl as the pace bowler, according to him, can win India matches. Bumrah took 21 wickets in four Test in 2018-19 and was one of the driving forces in India’s historic, first-ever Test series win in Australia.
“Well I am a huge fan of Bumrah. If he keeps himself fit. We are talking of a guy who can win games for you fellows. I worry about him because on our pitches you get a little bit of bounce and sideways movement,” said Border who added that it could be even more challenging to face him with the pink ball and under lights when there is uncertainty over how the ball will behave.
“Over the four-Test series, for India to win, I am worried about Bumrah. If he fires up like he did last time, get important wickets, ruffle a few feathers with the ball, I reckon he could the real difference. You always think that your batting line-up will get enough runs, you need the 20 wickets to win the Test. If he stays fit, he is the one who is going to be a key,” Border added.
The former Australian left-hander, who was the first batsman to cross 11,000 Test runs picked Cameron Green as the Australian to watch out for.
“Cameron Green is a really good cricketer. So he is someone to watch definitely. You haven’t seen a lot of his bowling or batting probably because he is feeling new to the systems but his batting is very good. He is a big, tall lad 6’6″. He has got a great technique, really quality technique that will serve him well. He can get them (deliveries) into 140s from that height,” he said.
There are concerns whether the Aussies will field him in all the Tests due to workload management.
“If he is allowed to flourish, there is always a question mark… you get protection from workload. You have to bowl only so many overs. That’s another matter. But watch out for Cameron Green. He is a good player.”