For any player, it is never easy to pack your bags and head to a country like Australia for his Test initiation. But the 27-year-old Mayank Agarwal was unfazed by the challenge and came out trumps
Bengaluru: It took 71 years for India to register their maiden Test series win in Australia. But for one player, it happened in his first-ever series for the nation. And he made major contributions as well.
Mayank Agarwal is the lucky batsman who had the opportunity to taste historic success Down Under in his maiden Test rubber for India, after being called up midway through the series as a replacement for the injured Prithvi Shaw.
For any player, it is never easy to pack your bags and head to a country like Australia for his Test initiation. But the 27-year-old Agarwal was unfazed by the challenge and came out trumps.
Agarwal made his Test debut in the third match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Melbourne and impressed with scores of 76 and 42 as India took a decisive 2-1 lead. In the fourth and final Test in Sydney, he struck 77. The contest ended in a draw and with that India created history.
In an exclusive interview with MyNation, the Karnataka right-hander, who is now back home, reflected on the memorable Australian trip.
MyNation: Mayank, first of all, congratulations on the historic Test series win in Australia. Could you tell us how was the feeling in Sydney when India ended a 71-year wait and you got to lift the Border-Gavaskar Trophy?
Mayank Agarwal: To be honest, it is undescribable. What I felt when India won in Sydney is undescribable. Words cannot describe my feeling. The feeling of being the first subcontinent team to win a Test series in Australia was simply amazing.
MyNation: You were called up to the squad in the middle of the series as a replacement for the injured Prithvi Shaw. How did you mentally prepare yourself for the big series?
Agarwal: I stuck to a plan. When I reached, the team welcomed me. It was a very warm welcome. Everyone gave me confidence and they were all backing me. Also, when we were in the nets preparing for the (Melbourne) Test, (batting coach) Sanjay (Bangar) sir spoke to me. Earlier, (head coach) Ravi (Shastri) sir had spoken to me. We had made a plan as to how to go about it and we went there and executed it.
MyNation: You attacked off-spinner Nathan Lyon. Did you go in with a mindset to attack him considering he had major success against India in the previous Tests?
Agarwal: Sanjay (Bangar) sir and I had a long chat about it. He told what Lyon would do and what his strengths are. We just sat down before the match and discussed on how to go about tackling the situation. I am glad that our plan worked.
MyNation: As an opening batsman, could you tell us what is the difference between facing the SG Test ball in India, and Kookaburra ball in Australia?
Agarwal: The Kookaburra ball's seam is nice and hard. The wickets in Australia have a lot more bounce compared to India. The SG ball reverses a lot more as compared to the Kookaburra. Obviously, in Australia, the new ball is very crucial. The wickets are different. We have to go there and adapt to the conditions and we had prepared for that.
MyNation: How was the feeling of opening the batting for India in Sydney with your best friend and city-mate KL Rahul?
Agarwal: It is a friendship goal. It was a dream-come-true for us. We have played a lot of cricket together from the Under-13s and we are very good friends on and off the field. When we were 13 and 15, we had opened the batting for our teams. And even in the Ranji Trophy it was a great honour and pleasure to open together. We were dreaming that we could one day open the innings together for India. And that dream came true. It was fantastic.
MyNation: Having done well in Tests and with the World Cup being played this year, what are your plans for making it to the limited-overs teams?
Agarwal: I just want to take it game by game. We have a lot of matches left. I want to stick to my process and keep working hard, keep putting in the performances. And like as I have always said, what has to be, will be.
MyNation: How did the Indian team celebrate after the series win in Sydney?
Agarwal: I can't tell this. We had a get together. We really enjoyed our success.
MyNation: Personally, which was the best on-field moment apart from winning the series?
Agarwal: Winning the series has to be the top-most feeling. Doing something that no subcontinent team had done in Australia. That was the biggest feeling for me.
MyNation: Who are the coaches and mentors who have played a big part in your success?
Agarwal: I just want to thank everyone who have played a big part in my career so far, especially (personal coach) RX sir (Murali) for helping me throughout my game, Rahul (Dravid sir, Sanjay Bangar sir and Ravi (Shastri) sir. I also want to thank my team, who gave me a warm welcome in Australia, which boosted my confidence.
Incredibly privileged to be a part of a historic win with this fantastic team. Thank you for instilling all the faith in me. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/oiQW2AGHDH— Mayank Agarwal (@mayankcricket) January 7, 2019
Last Updated 8:41 AM IST