Sunil Gavaskar was not impressed with the performances of India openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal in the first innings of the first Test against Australia in Adelaide on Thursday. After Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat, India lost Shaw for a second ball duck, while Agarwal, despite growing in confidence following a nervy start was castled by Pat Cummins. Both dismissals, albeit not identical, had the same error, Gavaskar pointed out – a huge gap between the bat and pads, which resulted in their dismissals.
“Even today, have a look at where his bat ends. There is such a big gap between bat and pad. Just the second delivery of the game and you want to make sure that you are playing with soft hands. You are playing as late as possible. The whole idea in Test match cricket is that you don’t go there. Then you are leaving that much of a gap between bat and pad, allowing for any late movement, either to get an inside edge or snick between bat and pad,” Gavaskar, a former India captain, told 7Cricket.
Shaw played the first ball defensively before Mitchell Starc had him playing on the next delivery. It was his first duck in Test cricket. Agarwal scored 17 off 40 balls having hit two confident-looking boundaries before Cummins exploited the ‘gate’ to rattle the batsman’s stumps. Gavaskar, arguable India’s greatest Test opening batsman, stressed on the basic of batting, explaining how it’s important to hold down a little.
“The trick is to try and play as close to the pads as possible, which means your bat speed has to be minimal at the start of the innings. As you grow in confidence, yes then you go and play your shots. But at the start when you are not even off the mark, you want to try and reduce your bat speed. Don’t leave any gap between bat and pad,” Gavaskar added.
“Well again, you can have a look at this. He’s (Mayank) played very hard at the ball, later on. This particular shot shows that the bat is close to the pad. It wasn’t. The ball snicked through there was such a big gap… a truck could have gone. A truck could have gone between that bat and pad. So that’s what the Indians are making a big mistake.”
India ended the day on 233/6 with Wriddhiman Saha and R Ashwin being the two unbeaten batsmen.