In the recently ended Test series in Australia which India won to create a new history, Mayank Agarwal was included to the side after Prithvi Shaw got injured. And soon he became one of the finds of the series with 195 runs in two test matches that he played down under, with an impressive average of 65. He scored two half-centuries and laid the base of Indian innings in Melbourne and Sydney. And such is his dedication level that Mayank, after returning from Australia, remains busy in playing Ranji Trophy for Karnataka. In a recent chat with the Cricketsoccer.com, the opener from Karnataka said that all his hard work for a long period of time is paid off.
Here are the excerpts:
Cricketsoccer (CS): After the historic test series victory in Australia, how life has changed for you?
Mayank Agarwal (MA): (laughs) I remain the same. But obviously, it was a dream come true moment for me to get the chance to play for my country and that too on Australian soil. It was a surprise call for me. I was very excited when I got the cap and I was looking forward to getting on to the field and start playing. Yes, I got selected suddenly, but I don’t think that it was a stroke of luck by chance. All I can say is that my hard work for a long period of time is paid off.
CS: What was your mindset when you were told that you are in the playing XI for the Melbourne test?
MA: I was into the action and did not have enough time to think about other things. Had to be switched on from the word go. I just tried to be focused and calm. Before the match, I had a word with my childhood coach and my family. They all told me not to think much about the opponents. They advised that I should rather concentrate on my own game. I found it very helpful. Yes I was overwhelmed by the MCG in my debut innings on Boxing Day. When I went in to bat, I was nervous initially. But as I played a couple of overs, nerves settled and it got better. I just got into the zone and started playing my shots and started playing according the plan that I had for myself.
CS: But making your debut against Australia and that too in Australia, how difficult a task was it for you?
MA: Playing in Australia is very competitive. They play their cricket hard and they are a top side. It is a different experience and very different from what I had played, compared to even the IPL. The situations, the pressures, you come across so many different situations and pressures and that is the beauty of Test cricket. But having said that, all the runs I scored in domestic circuit gave me all the confidence.
CS: What worked for you to get going in Australia?
MA: One thing that I feel worked well for me is my persistence and my hard work. I kept at it working hard on my game and I persisted. I kept looking to get better. Initially, the results didn’t come, but I didn’t let go. I just said I will keep working hard and I will keep getting better and when the big scores started coming, a lot of belief started coming in, and things started to change. It changed my mindset altogether. I knew if I get a chance, I would not disappoint.
CS: You and KL Rahul are teammates in Karnataka. After a tough time in the first two Test matches, KL was dropped and you replaced him. How do you see this?
MA: I and KL are very good friends. KL spoke to me, we had gone out for coffee. I sought suggestions from him on how should I approach batting there in Australia. He told me the things the Australian attack would look to do and this could be their plan. He gave me an outline of how they would target me. Having played international cricket, he has quite a bit experience which he shared with me. There is no bad feeling. And I know that KL will bounce back to form. He is just a good innings away to get back to rhythm.
CS: What is your next target?
MA: I want to cement my place in the Indian team. There is competition. At least 5 are fighting for the two openers’ slot. So I have to play well and score runs consistently. We are not playing too many test matches in the coming months. So apart from IPL, I am looking forward to perform well in other domestic tournaments. This is just the beginning of the road for me. I still have to learn a lot of things in the game.