Partnerships are the base of cricket, be it batting, bowling or sometimes fielding also. A batting pair wants to make runs as many as possible in partnership while a bowling pair wants to take as many wickets as possible while bowling together. Hence, the partnerships are required to remain ahead in the game.
India, however, have found it tough to form big opening partnerships, especially in the longest format of the game. If we exclude the matches Rohit Sharma opened in, India have the worst opening average (15.81) in the tests since 2019. Among all the Test-playing nations, only Zimbabwe have an opening average (16.52) less than India (28.4) in international cricket since 2019.
The openers have largely failed in giving a good start to the Indian team, which has also resulted in the team’s failure. The opening partnership that averages 57.87 in the won matches falls to 25.71 in the defeats since 2019, which largely shows the importance of a good opening camaraderie. In the losses, India have only four 50-runs and century partnerships whereas, in the won matches, the tally rises to seven 50-runs and ten-century partnerships in this duration.
The partnership between Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw:
Since the conclusion of World Cup 2019, India have tried as many as nine different combinations in the international circuit. Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw are also one of the nine pairs, opening in nine innings together. The duo has accumulated only 167 runs together at a poor average of 18.55, with only one 50-run partnership to their name.
This chart clearly summaries the poor performance of Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw, while batting in the partnership together. They have managed to cross 30-runs mark only once in the nine innings they have batted with each other. Moreover, this partnership is yet to play even eight overs in a Test innings together, with the highest being 46 balls only.
Understandably, opening in test cricket isn’t easy, but this is pretty poor from the Indian openers. Even in the first test against Australia both the openers, especially Prithvi Shaw looked completely unsettled on the crease. The opponents have broken their partnership quite easily in Test cricket.
The opening partnerships in international cricket:
The Men in Blue have lost all the matches, Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal have opened in together. In the Test matches, Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal don’t open in, the Indian openers average 45.54 whereas the average falls to 34.64 in the Test matches Shaw and Agarwal open in since 2019. The opening partnership of Agarwal and Shaw hasn’t worked for India and the numbers also tell the same thing.
Among all the Test-playing nations, only the South African pair, Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram, have a worse average (13.00) than the Indian duo in the international cricket since 2019. The Indian pair has assembled only 167 runs, which are the lowest among all the pairs to have batted in more than five innings together. Of all the pairs to have batted in at least five Test innings, the Agarwal-Shaw pair has the fourth-worst average (14.66) since 2019.
Prithvi Shaw is still very young and has played the majority of matches in the overseas conditions. Hence, his numbers haven’t been that great in his short career. With the more games he plays, his numbers will surely improve going forward.
Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw while batting separately:
The individual performances of Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw improve to a large extent while playing separately for their national team. Both the players become different beasts while opening with different players. The chart below shows a glimpse of performances by these two players while batting together and separately.
Agarwal’s average of 45.25, while batting with Shaw, shots up to 61.46 while batting with any other batsmen. The same goes for Shaw as his average (38.45) takes a large leap in the absence of Mayank Agarwal. Both openers have crossed the 50-runs mark only once while batting in unison.
Both batsmen have scored the majority of the runs while playing separately in their short career. Almost 60% of their career runs have come while playing in distinct. This, pretty much, shows that the partnership of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal neither works for them nor India.