Karnataka’s Mayank Agarwal is the toast of Indian domestic cricket circuits right now. In a spectacular season, the 27-year-old opening batsman has accumulated a whopping 2141 runs across the three domestic tournaments – Ranji Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy. In that time he has altered perceptions, broken records and simply taken his batting to another level. But here is a chapter from his career where the domestic cricket veteran had found himself struggling, and was supported by teammates KL Rahul and Vinay Kumar.
Flashback to October 2017, start of the Indian domestic season and all this seemed highly improbable, even impossible. Mayank make no qualms about the fact that he was ‘hurt’ with the way he had begun the season for Karnataka and that things were not going as planned.
Starting his Ranji Trophy campaign off with a knock of just 31 runs against a lowly Assam side, Mayank Agarwal grabbed a pair against Hyderabad. As he walked back to the pavilion that afternoon in Shivamogga, dismissed for a 22-ball-duck in the second innings, it seemed the weight of the town was on his shoulders.
When KL Rahul & Vinay Kumar supported Mayank Agarwal during Ranji Trophy
As reported by The Hindu, the Karnataka cricketer said, “It was a terrible feeling. It just didn’t feel right. I felt scratchy. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Mayank also revealed the role that his Karnataka teammates KL Rahul and Vinay Kumar played in getting his Ranji Trophy season back on track.
“K.L. (Rahul) told me, ‘It’s alright. This is the worst that could happen. Now look forward. Think positive even if it feels outrageous.’ Then Vinay (Kumar) spoke to me. It felt really nice,” he said.
After the Hyderabad game, Karnataka were scheduled to play Maharashtra in Pune, the place where the turnaround began for Mayank Agarwal. The right-hander also went to his coach RX Muralidhar to seek some help and advice before Ranji Trophy game. Speaking about what he learned, Mayank said,
“More than skill, it was about making a mental shift. We did work hard but we had long conversations. He was trying to remove those mental blocks.”
The blocks were indeed removed and how. Mayank Agarwal smashed an unbeaten triple century against Maharashtra and never looked back from that point of time. Having enjoyed the most prolific season of his career where he also broke the record for most runs by a player in a single domestic season in India, the former U-19 opener is now basking in the glory of achievements.
“I definitely did not imagine the season would turn out this way,” he smiled. “Especially after the start. But I’m just grateful to God. The difference [from previous seasons] is that I know my game better and I know myself better. Having got those insights, I can deal with situations better,” he signs off.
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