With big knocks for India A recently in the tri-series against South Africa A and Australia A and scoring the first ton of KPL 2015, Mayank Agarwal has overcome challenges and is ready to go big-wave surfing. The talented Karnataka batsman is making the most of the opportunities provided to him and he wants to take it as it comes, with his focus unwavering.
In a chat with Cricbuzz, the 24-year-old speaks about his experience of playing for India A, Rahul Dravid’s influence on him and what to look forward to in KPL, among other things.
How was it playing for India A?
It was a nice feeling to have been selected to represent India A for the first time. It was a good feeling and I thoroughly enjoyed representing India A there.
The influence of Rahul Dravid, the India A coach
Most definitely (Rahul Dravid’s presence was a big help). Him being one of the top batsmen India has had, we picked his brain a lot. I spoke to him to get inputs on batting. Little bit of the technical aspect. We didn’t have a lot of time to work with him on technique as such but he told us about how to pace the innings, how to bat deep and stuff like that. It was really good to chat with him and I definitely used whatever he said.
Any specific lessons that you learned?
I am looking to improve as a cricketer every session. I’m looking to improve as a cricketer every day, every match. That’s what I’m looking to do. Ups and downs are part of a sportsman’s career and when you go down, you learn to fight harder. You see that probably some things are not working and you work on that better.
You had an up and down experience in the IPL? How did you tackle it?
Like I said, it was a learning experience and I learnt a lot after I got dropped from the IPL as well. It gave me a lot of clarity in the head and I moved on from there.
What kind of hardships did you face during that time?
Touch wood, I’ve been lucky. I haven’t had to go through too many hardships. But yes, every sportsman goes through some of them (hardships). Everyone is fighting their own battles. Probably not being the most technically-sound batsman is one of them (for me). But nothing apart from that. My parents have been very supportive, my family has been very kind and I’ve had a good schooling, a good place in the Karnataka Association – a very good state to be playing cricket in. So, it’s been a fairy tale.
What expectations do you have from the Karnataka Premier League?
I’m just looking to repeat what I have done, repeat the process, keep the good things going, ball after ball, over after over and try and do what I can do best for my team. The biggest thing for me would be winning the KPL and I think there’s no better feeling than to win a tournament. I am not thinking too far ahead. I prefer to take it step by step, match by match and tournament by tournament. I want to improve as a cricketer every game and see where it goes.
If you were not a cricketer, which route would you have taken?
Air force. I love aircraft. Probably air force and if not that, then commercial pilot.
If a cricketer had to bat for your life, who would that be and why?
Too many, but probably Rahul (Dravid)bhai. Ask him to bat to save my life please. It’s just that he values his wicket a lot – not that others don’t – but he is technically very sound and he understands his game really well. If it was an overseas player, it would probably be Michael Hussey.
Funniest incident as part of a cricket team
I played a prank, not in the dressing room but it was at the airport. My friend’s wallet had fallen down. I took it and put it in someone’s bag and he boarded the aircraft. I took my friend around, took him to the terminal manager, took him to the Kingfisher manager – I think we were flying Kingfisher at that time, asked him all sorts of stuff, probably told him about the colour of the wallet, and other details. We then got a call from the aircraft, one of the guys called and said ‘listen, I think you had too much (of a good time playing the prank). The flight is getting delayed because of you.’ And then we had to rush to the aircraft and I think I got a lot of stick for that.
Funniest thing you have said on a cricket field
On the cricket field, I am a good boy kind. I don’t speak a lot.
Which is the cricket game you would have loved to be part of and why?
I think part of a winning World Cup side. I think the 2011 World Cup final or Sachin Paaji’s 200th Test. That would have been a tremendous feeling.
If a movie were to be made of you, what kind of a movie would that be, who will you prefer to play your role and why?
It would probably be a fairy tale, like it’s been for me. The actor, a guy who can play a prankster, I guess it would be me.