Mayank Agarwal, the India opener, has been called up for the upcoming Edgbaston Test against England, scheduled to start on July 1. Agarwal will join the squad on Monday as cover for Rohit Sharma who tested positive for Covid-19. As per the latest travel advisory, Agarwal will not be required to quarantine upon arrival, which will make him available to play immediately if required.
Agarwal, 31, had originally been left out of the squad, but an injury to KL Rahul and doubts over Rohit's availability have now opened up the door.
Agarwal last played a Test in March, during the home series against Sri Lanka, but could manage just 59 runs from two matches, at an average of 19.66. His most recent red-ball outing was in June, for Karnataka during the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals against Uttar Pradesh.
Agarwal hasn't been in the best of form lately, managing just 196 runs at an average of 16.33 and strike rate of 122.50 in his maiden season as IPL captain for Punjab Kings. Agarwal's lean run prompted former India head coach Ravi Shastri to suggest that his struggles in dealing with the pressures of captaincy may have cost him a place for the one-off Test.
"I love the kid. I know how he plays his cricket, how determined he is. But it's putting a guy who is very good at what he does in a wrong place," Shastri said on ESPNcricinfo's analysis show T20 Time Out. "And it can have problems. Serious problems. Serious repercussions. It could have cost him his place in the Indian side. Test side, everything, because the selectors will judge on current form, they will judge on what they actually see."
The Test in Birmingham is the conclusion of the series from last year which was suspended after a Covid-19 outbreak in the India team. Agarwal, incidentally, was part of that squad and was a shoo-in as first-choice opener before a concussion days before the series opener handed an opportunity to Rahul, who was India's second-highest run-getter with 315 runs in eight innings.