Former India cricketer Ajay Jadeja praised Punjab Kings captain Mayank Agarwal for stepping down to allow Jonny Bairstow to bat at the top of the order in an IPL 2022 match against the Gujarat Titans. Mayank, who batted first in junior cricket, did not bat at all on Tuesday as PBKS brought down the 144-run goal with eight wickets and four overs to spare. Instead of Mayank Agarwal, England’s Bairstow took the field alongside Shikhar Dhawan to start the batting. Despite the fact that Bairstow was removed early by Mohammed Shami, Jadeja believes this batting order is superior and can intimidate opponents. Jadeja praised Agarwal for his altruistic act, saying he didn’t expect the right-hander to ‘take the axe upon himself’ and reject the order.

“I was not expecting Mayank to take the axe upon himself and demote himself down the order. That is a big decision to take for a captain. If you see what is best for him, it is the opening slot but if you look at the team resources, this batting lineup has people just coming in one after the other. You ask a bowler if you are up against a team which has Bairstow at the top then Rajapaksa walks in and then Livingstone then they will have no option to get all of them out to breathe a sigh of relief,” Jadeja told Cricbuzz.

In IPL 2022, Mayank hasn’t been in the greatest of form. Mayank opted to lower down because Dhawan was continuously scoring at the top. Rajapaksa, Livingstone, and Bairstow all received promotions as a result. Former India cricketer Pragyan Ojha believes that starting with Bairstow and Dhawan is the best option, but that Mayank should bat third.

“Mayank Agarwal can be used in a versatile manner. I think he will come at No. 3 and the template will remain the same, but the roles will change just slightly. If Punjab keeps winning, then it will seem that there are no teams better than them,” he added.