Having started the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 with the scores of 31 and 0 against Assam, Karnataka batsman Mayank Agarwal turned things around in his very next outing against Maharashtra at MCA stadium, Pune.
Agarwal scored an unbeaten 304 off 494 balls as Karnataka thumped Maharashtra by an innings and 136 runs. Ever since the triple ton, Mayank hasn’t looked back and recorded the scores of 176, 23, 90, 133*, 173, 134, 78, 15 and 3 in the remaining Ranji matches. He finished the prestigious first-class tournament with 1160 runs to his name at an incredible average of 105.45.
In an exclusive interview with Sportstar, Agarwal opened up his stellar domestic season in which he accumulated 2141 runs (most by an India batsman) across all three formats. The 27-year-old thanked the almighty and also cited that he can deal with situations in a better way now.
“I definitely did not imagine the season would turn out this way 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,” Mayank told Sportstar.
Recalling his failure after the first round of Ranji clash against Assam, Agarwal said: “It was a terrible feeling. It just didn’t feel right. I felt scratchy. I didn’t know what was going to happen. K.L. (Rahul) told me, ‘It’s all right. 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.”
Mayank revealed that it was just a mental shift that helped him to overcome the fear of failure in the subsequent encounters and it was his coach ‘RX’ Muralidhar, who assisted him in conquering it.
“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,” he said.
Following the Ranji Trophy, Agarwal carried his amazing batting form to the domestic T20 tournament – Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The right-hander compiled the scores of 55, 2, 10, 13, 86, 6, 9, 0, 77 in the T20 event and then followed it up with 723 runs in the domestic ODI tournament – Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Mayank aggregated the scores of 109, 84, 28, 102, 89, 140, 81 and 90 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018 and in the process he also became the first Indian batsman to score over 700 runs in a List A tournament. He broke the long-standing record of legendary Sachin Tendulkar, who had aggregated 673 runs in ICC Cricket World Cup 2003.
Agarwal may have missed out on a spot in the Indian team for the T20I tri-series in Sri Lanka, but he clearly has grabbed the attention of the national selectors.
“It’s all about what you have in your hand now. And in today’s scenario, we have a lot of games. So there’s always something to look forward to. People say, ‘Oh you were right on track, what happened?’ and this and that...But I think everyone walks a different path. Everyone makes their journey differently,” Mayank said when asked whether he is disappointed to not get the national call-up.
Karnataka’s campaign in the Deodhar Trophy starts on Monday (February 5) and Agarwal has his work cut out for the tournament.
“Our dressing-room culture is such that no individual is bigger than the team or the game. Whether I’ve got runs previously or not, today I have to start from zero. I have to be aware of that and be very humble. I know this game is a great leveller,” Mayank Agarwal concluded.