Assured knocks in Melbourne and Sydney during the just concluded Test series in Australia, Mayank Agarwal says, have given him the sense of belief which he needed at the beginning of his International career.
Mayank, who made his long-coming debut in the Boxing Day Test, kickstarted his reign at the highest level with a fine 76 in the first innings and followed it with a solid 42 to help India script a historic victory.
The right-hand opening batsman then played a fantastic knock of 77 at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground(SCG) making a valuable contribution of his own towards country's maiden Test series triumph in Australia.
“I was very excited when I got the cap and I was looking forward to getting on the field and start playing. Wanted to get into the thick of things and get cracking," Mayank told Hindustan Times, "It helped in many ways that we batted first, because 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, and it was nice I believe."
"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."
The 27-year-old also gave an insight into how nervous he felt on the biggest day of his life so far, the scenes at the time at the great MCG and said, "When I walked in, I was nervous, but was excited to be playing on the Boxing Day. I went into the middle and looked around, the first thought that came to my mind was ‘Well Mayank, you are in the middle of something big’. It is like a colosseum. Massive, noise, and a very big occasion."
"When I played a few balls and middled a few balls and spent a couple of overs there, the nerves started to ease. Also, I had a plan and whenever the mind started wavering around, I reminded myself to stick to the plan. Once the nerves eased, I was playing the ball on its merit and you know, just batting. The journey had started."
Mayank also intimated that captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri have given everyone a comforting dressing room environment to walk into and feels that it really helped an inexperienced player like him.
He said, "Everyone was very warm, they welcomed me. Every person in the dressing room ensured that I was comfortable and ready to go and give my best. They backed me, asked me to believe in myself so that I can go and give my best on the field. From Sanjay Bangar sir to Ravi sir, to Virat, everybody."
"The team talk was about identifying the challenge as a big opportunity, to identify the big moments in the match and a huge chance to make this about the team’s chance to win a series. We are glad that we could go out and win a series in Australia and to be the first subcontinental side to do it was amazing. All the credit goes to the side and a big tick mark to everybody," Mayank signed off.