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‘Those Two Guys Have to Play’: Former England Pacer Wants India to Back Mayank Agarwal And Shreyas Iyer For South Africa Tests

India batters Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer scored a century each during the two-match Test series against New Zealand. While Mayank was making his return to Test cricket and struck 150 in Mumbai, Iyer made a sparkling debut in Kanpur with a hundred in first innings and fifty in the second.

On the other hand, India’s Test mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane continued their search for a big score. While Pujara has now gone 40 innings without a Test ton, Rahane’s last hundred came in December 2020 during the Australia tour.

With India set to tour South Africa next, a country where they have never won a Test series before, there’s a big question of whether Pujara and Rahane should be an automatic choice, at least in the eleven if not the squad.

Former England pacer Steve Harmisson feels that for India to survive in South Africa where pacers call the shots, they will need in-form players and hence Iyer and Agarwal deserve to be in their playing XI.

“If you’re going to go to South Africa and survive against Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi, they need people in form,” Harmisson said on his YouTube channel. “And the ones who are in form are Shreyas Iyer and Mayank Agarwal. Rohit Sharma comes back in so I will pick him and Agarwal to open. KL Rahul fits that No. 3 spot. Then you’ve got Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ashwin, Shami, Siraj and Bumrah.”

Clearly, Harmisson doesn’t feel India need out-of-form Pujara and Rahane in the eleven as he feels performers need to be rewarded.

“That for me would be a formidable team going from India. There are runs in that team, there is definitely wickets in there on whatever surface you are going to play. And you reward people who are in a bit of form. Agarwal scored a 100 and fifty. Shreyas Iyer become the first player to score a 100 and fifty on debut. I think those two guys have got to play,” he said.

The South Africa tour gets underway from December 26 with a three-match Test series.

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