Shastri: ‘Pressures of captaincy’ may have cost Mayank Agarwal a spot in India’s squad
“Mayank Agarwal is in the same boat as Ravindra Jadeja,” Shastri told ESPNcricinfo’s analysis program T20 Time Out. “Guys who have never been captains, you ask them to run franchises. This is no disrespect to Mayank. Because I love the kid. I know how he plays his cricket, how determined he is. But it put down a man who is very good at what he is doing in a wrong place And it could have problems Serious problems Serious consequences It could have cost him his place on the Indian side Test side everything because the selectors will judge on the current form, they will judge by what they actually see.
“So it hurts me because I know how good a player he is. But obviously the pressure of captaincy will weigh on everyone’s head. You saw Jadeja become another cricketer. Mayank Agarwal turned out to be another cricketer. We know how good they are as individual cricketers. Going forward, this is a strong message to the franchise to be very smart about who you pick as captain.”
Should Kings then follow the example of Super Kings?
“It’s Punjab’s headache,” Shastri said. “Punjab should. I want to get the best out of Agarwal. Great player. But when you put that kind of pressure on him, you can see. I don’t want to go into details, but you can see it affects him.”
Agarwal dropped command halfway through to make way for Jonny Bairstow after his initial struggle at the top of command. His move down the order allowed Bairstow to play more freely, but the middle order remained a challenge for Kings as Agarwal couldn’t create much impact there.
Daniel Vettori, himself a former coach in the IPL and current in other leagues, said Agarwal’s role as captain would be the most important part of any review Kings undertake.
“You have to look at the options first and foremost,” Vettori said. “As the conversation around Rishabh Pant last night, you can see that some of the Delhi management came out quite critical of his captaincy. So what are the options? That’s always the starting point when making these decisions.
“I think it’s going to be one of the highest-rated topics they’ll have. Not necessarily whether Mayank was a good captain, but whether his leadership influenced his batting. Because what you want from players first and foremost is their first ability.And so if Mayank produces [runs] as a batsman his leadership may be better. But why put all that pressure on him?”
For his part, Agarwal sounded pleased with the kind of cricket his side played even though they couldn’t make the play-offs. †
There are a lot of positives for us,” Agarwal told Star Sports [Liam] livinsgtone [whom Shastri called the best overseas player of this IPL] has struck, the brand of cricket we played, Shikhar [Dhawan] has been consistent, Arsh [Arshdeep Singh] really raised his hand, Jonny [Bairstow] when his at bat had been phenomenal, Harpreet [Brar] turned out well. We have a lot of players who have really stepped up and done well.
“Obviously with the aggressive brand of cricket we’re playing there will be times when it won’t come out and it’s going to look bad. Understanding that and still doing it is something for us. And if we have the kind of cricket can play in this game, we will definitely do well next season.
“We just couldn’t get two consecutive wins, we talked about that. As a batting unit we lost wickets in a cluster. That derailed us a bit at times. Other than that I think we’ve been a very positive unit for us. We played an aggressive kind of cricket. And that’s what we want to do.”
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo