Former middle-order batsman Mohammad Kaif has said that he is not sure if Mayank Agarwal is the best possible replacement for Vijay Shankar, saying that his only problem is the number of matches Mayank has played recently. Kaif also questioned whether Mayank will be able to acclimatise himself with the English conditions quickly.

“The only problem I have is the number of matches he has been playing on a regular basis or whether he is in touch. The same goes with Rishabh Pant. Pant played his last pressure game in May and then went to UK and had a few practice sessions. That is the only thing that worries me. They won’t be in touch with the conditions so much,” Kaif said during the promotional event of Major League Baseball.

Shankar was picked ahead of Ambati Rayudu for the contentious number four slot. He was ruled out of the World Cup last week due to toe injury, making way for the Karnataka batsman. If the team management decides to include Agarwal in the playing eleven, it will be a debut for him in the One Day Internationals. Earlier in 2018, he had made a promising debut against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

Asked who is best suited for the number four slot, Kaif said, “I can’t say, even Kohli doesn’t know.” The lower middle-order has also been criticised for not upping the tempo after decent starts provided by the openers, Rohit Sharma and K.L. Rahul. In the last match, the Men in Blue could muster only 63 runs in the last 10 overs, chickenfeed by modern standards.

Previously, they had come under fire for not showing enough intent while chasing England’s 337. However, Kaif is not bothered too much about India’s poor show against England.

“They have played well. They have just lost one game; it’s not a big deal. Any team can lose one match. Everybody is talking about batting, but when you chase a score of 337, it is never an easy one. I think India had a bad day and England played well. They (England) are also tournament favourites and you can expect this kind of performance from them,” the 38-year-old said.

 

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