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Patience, Mayank’s game plan

“I think it goes down to understanding that there had been times when I have not got runs"

By Our Correspondent in Indore

  • Published 16.11.19, 1:56 AM
  • Updated 16.11.19, 2:31 AM
Mayank Agarwal on way to 243 against Bangladesh in Indore on Friday
Mayank Agarwal on way to 243 against Bangladesh in Indore on Friday (PTI)

Mayank Agarwal revealed playing PUBG is his way of unwinding after a hard day on the field.

After a magnificent 215 against the Proteas last month in Visakhapatnam, the India opener churned out a sublime 243 on Day II that put India in complete command of the first Test against Bangladesh, here, at the Holkar Stadium.

“I think it goes down to understanding that there had been times when I have not got runs. So I must respect the game and the phase when I am batting well.

“When I am doing that, I have to ensure I make it big and put the team in the driving seat or put them in such a position that they cannot lose from there.

“Knowing that you are batting well, it’s now on to you to take the team ahead,” the India opener emphasised.

Shot selection during long knocks assumes huge significance, and for Mayank, it’s about having a good game plan.

“I think it goes down to game plan — which bowler you are feeling comfortable against and who you want to attack. Then there’s picking the right balls. You still got to respect the game and you can’t just say, ‘Okay, I am going to hit each and every ball’. You can’t do that. It’s not going to happen that way.

“It’s about understanding, like ‘Okay, this is the bowler I am playing well today and this is the ball that I can go after’. So, you need to pick those balls and then have mental discipline to build your innings on that,” Mayank analysed.

When dropped on 32 on the first evening, Mayank was determined to cash in on the reprieve and make Bangladesh pay. “I was thinking that if I have got a chance, I have got to make them pay.

“When you get a let-off, you have to ensure that you make the opposition pay,” he said.

The Karnataka batsman survived another anxious moment around half an hour before lunch on Friday when he was given out leg-before. He was then still 18 short of reaching three figures. But thankfully, the DRS saved him.

“Initially, when I was hit on the pads, I thought I wasn’t out. But then when I was given out, I had a quick flashback.

“I had got out the same way to Roston Chase in the West Indies. So I said to myself that I couldn’t make that mistake again.

“I am glad and happy that it was missing (the stumps). At that point in time, I thought maybe it was going to be the umpire’s call and I would be doomed,” Mayank recalled.

Another feature of his knock was absorbing the pressure that was on India when both Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Virat Kohli departed early in the first session, with Abu Jayed Rahi accounting for both batsmen.

“Pressure is always there in international cricket. He (Rahi) was in the middle of a good spell and it was important to respect that.

“And that is what myself and Ajju bhai (Ajinkya Rahane) spoke about. Wait for the lose balls to go for the shots — that was our strategy,” Mayank explained.

He will have to face competition from Prithvi Shaw once the latter returns to the scheme of things. But that doesn’t perturb Mayank.

“I don’t look at it that way. My journey is not going to be the same as that of someone else and neither do I like comparing two people’s journey. Somebody might get a chance quickly while somebody else might get it late.

“But it’s not under our control. Thus, it is important to understand the things that are in my control and always think that I’m glad to play for the country and should look to build on what I have achieved.

“My aim is to contribute to the team’s cause and score runs that will help my team win matches and tournaments,” he said.

  • Mayank is the 2nd fastest to get two double hundreds in Tests. While Vinod Kambli had five innings to get two 200s, Mayank has got it in 12 innings. Don Bradman had taken 13 innings to register two double hundreds.
  • Mayank’s 243 is the 5th best score by an India opener. The top four spots are all owned by Virender Sehwag (319, 309, 293, 254).
  • The Karnataka batsman has equalled Navjot Singh Sidhu in hitting the most sixes by an Indian in a Test innings — 8. Sidhu’s effort was during a 124-run innings vs Sri Lanka, in Lucknow, 1994.
  • Mayank stands joint 5th with MS Dhoni among India batsmen in terms of scoring most runs in a day’s play in Tests. Mayank got 206 in Indore on Friday. Sehwag leads the chart with 284 that he scored against Sri Lanka, at the Brabourne, Mumbai, in 2009.
  • The 28-year-old is now 2nd only to Steve Smith in terms of runs scored in Tests this year. While Smith has 774 runs from four matches at an average 110.57, Mayank is not too far away with 740 runs from 10 innings at an average of 74.

Stats: Mohandas Menon

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