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My Family Broke the News, Dravid Congratulated Me: Mayank Agarwal

After his maiden call to play for India, The Quint caught up with Mayank Agarwal and how he kept himself motivated.

Updated
Sports Stars
4 min read

After record-breaking domestic season and numerous snubs, Mayank Agarwal has finally found his way to the Indian Test side that will play the touring West Indies side.

The Quint caught up with Mayank Agarwal, where the Karnataka opener talked about how he kept himself motivated all these months, his equation with Rahul Dravid and how he will approach the West Indies series.

Mayank was the leading run-scorer in the Ranji Trophy last season, finishing the tournament with 1,160 runs at an average of 105.45. He scored 5 centuries, two fifties and one innings of 304, which brought him the limelight.

He followed that with 723 runs in eight matches of the Vijay Hazare trophy, ending the season with 2,141 runs across all formats, which is the highest total by any batsman in an Indian domestic season. 
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Unfortunately, his heroics in the domestic circuit wasn’t enough to impress the selectors, who kept on ignoring him till Saturday.

Mayank continued his great show with the bat against South Africa A and Australia A, as me made great use of each and every opportunity that came his way.

With India heading to Australia later this year and India being plagued by the problem of underperforming openers, Mayank Agarwal will look to grab the opportunity with both hands against West Indies. Here’s a transcript of Agarwal’s interview with The Quint. Responses have been edited for clarity.

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After 18 great months at the domestic circuit, you will finally be part of the national dressing room. The big question that many cricket fans and experts in the country have been asking has finally been resolved. How did you get the news and what was your first reaction?

I got to know the news from my family and my first reaction was, that I was extremely happy and looking forward to it.

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How did your family react to and celebrate the big news?

They were very very happy. When I called them, they were all congratulating me. It was a very nice feeling to have spoken to all of them

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Record-breaking domestic season, marriage & now the most awaited maiden call-up. 2018 indeed has been a great year for you.

Yes, definitely. To have such great moments coming is something fantastic. It has been a good year and I want to continue working hard to make the most of it.

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On the day of selection you scored a 90 for the Board’s President XI against West Indies. What a way to send a timely reminder to the selectors! Were you tensed or it was it just that you are too used it?

Nothing as such. I wasn’t thinking about selection. It is about going there and doing what is there in your hand. My job was to go there and get runs. That’s all I can control. The rest is not in my hand. So, I don’t want to think about it and put pressure on myself. It doesn’t make any sense.

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You had a fabulous 2017-18 domestic season. You were the leading run-scorer in the Ranji Trophy. You ended the season with 2,141 runs across all formats, the highest total by any batsman in an Indian domestic season. Still the selectors weren’t impressed. Did you ever doubt yourself when you weren’t selected for Sri Lanka in March?

To be honest selection is not in my control and there is no point thinking about it because there is so much a player can do. One should do what is his or her control. I look to improve as a cricketer everyday. And the rest will take care of itself. I never doubted myself or during the season because I was batting well and scoring the run. There are so many matches these days and it is very easy to be in the present and not think ahead too much. Every day as professional you have to go out there, perform well and win games for your team.

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What kept you going during that phase?

Obviously working hard and improving everyday is something I look forward to, because I want to try to get better as a sportsman. There are things which are not in my control. I don’t want to think about them and get demotivated. Batting well, scoring runs and winning games for my team is what keeps me going.

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If you get the nod on Thursday, you will be opening with KL Rahul once again. How will that feel?

I don’t know any of it now, so I don’t want to comment on it. If and when that happens, I will take it as it comes.

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One person in the Indian team you are really looking forward to sharing the dressing room with?

I think everybody. There is no one single person. I would be in the Indian dressing room for the first time and I believe it would be special.

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Not only the cricketing fraternity, many cricket fans went into a mini-celebration after your selection. They said finally the door has been broken. Domestic success is still being appreciated and noticed by fans in the country. How does it feel? Any message for them?

I want to thank all of them (fans) for supporting me the way they have been doing it. And I am very grateful for that.

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One innings from your amazing last season that you will remember for a long time?

Probably my triple hundred (304*) against Maharashtra.

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We all know that apart from KL Rahul, the other Rahul who has been a great influence in your life is Rahul Dravid. Did you talk with him after Saturday night?

Yes, I had a word with him (Rahul Dravid) yesterday (Sunday). It was nice. He congratulated me and wished me well. Just gave few tips to how to go about things up ahead.

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Any particular plan in mind to approach the upcoming two Tests against West Indies?

I am not thinking it like that. Just looking to take it day by day and go out their and give my best.

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Last question, on Thursday when and if Mayank Agarwal takes the field against the West Indies at Rajkot what should we expect from him?

The one thing you can expect from me is that I will go out there and give my best and play hard.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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