It is often a joy to see people break stereotypes and proving others wrong. Mayank Agarwal has one such story to narrate. Unlike most of his fellow cricketers who broke into the Indian team at a young age, Mayank made his way into the Indian Test squad when he was 28 years old. And from then, a fabulous journey of this ‘Test’ player started.
Mayank was considered a player suitable for the longest format of the game for most of his career. By his own admission, he hasn’t had a breakthrough season of IPL despite playing 9 seasons. But after a few adjustments and some solid performances, he has become one of the most exciting players to watch in this IPL. Let’s see what made him succeed in the recent IPL.
Building the Right Attitude:
It’s amazing how adopting the right attitude does wonders for cricketers. Mayank’s has been one such case. After making headlines with some great knocks at the U19 stage, Mayank’s form often went on and off. This inconsistency issue made him focus more on Tests giving a lower priority to ODIs and T20s.
His entry to the Indian Test squad helped him build his game in the other formats too. He says that self-awareness and clarity of thought helped him understand his game and switch between the formats. He now says:
Cricket at the highest level is a confidence game.
He has also said that practising meditation has helped him a lot and has added a lot to his mental strength. While most of the cricketers were left fatigued at the end of the 5-month lockdown at home, Mayank admitted that this period has helped him relax.
Mayank has made a lot of adjustments to his game when he came to the international stage. He worked extensively on the straight-drive and the on-drive. The New Zealand tour, in particular, was a great learning experience for him as he got to unleash these drives. He also added new techniques of scoring into his forté like the upper-cut.Embed from Getty Images
Apart from all this, with the help of Rahul Dravid, Mayank added a whole range of attacking shots to his skill-set which helped him make big scores in the shorter formats of the game too. Upon seeing his game against New Zealand, Scott Styris predicted that Mayank will be one of the players worth looking forward to in the IPL. Must say, pretty good prediction.
The Right Dose of Luck:
No matter how much hard-work you put, without luck, you wouldn’t succeed. Mayank, for a majority of his IPL career, has been jumping here and there in terms of batting positions. Having played for four different IPL teams, his batting position often varied. He opened at times, came at 3rd or 4th at the others and even came as a finisher at times. Mayank being an opener who enjoyed playing the new ball found it difficult to adapt.
With so many changes, Mayank struggled to fit in and so he was never able to make it big. In a few seasons of the IPL, he averaged in single digits too. Even in 2019, KL Rahul opening with Chris Gayle for KXIP made Mayank come at the 3rd or 4th position which didn’t help him.
This time, KXIP’s strategy of going ahead with only one overseas batsman for the early part of the IPL, and this batsman being Nicholas Pooran helped Mayank. He finally got his favoured spot as an opener and from then, he has been topping the batting charts. So good was his form that he managed to push the ‘Universe Boss’ to bat at the third position.
The Perfect Partner in Crime:
Finally, the biggest factor for an opener’s success is how good a partner he has. Mayank got to open with KL Rahul, who also became the newly appointed captain of the KXIP team. Given the fact that both have played with each other for over a decade, it became easy for them.
Mayank got not only an opening partner, but also a captain who understood him and this did wonders not only for him, but also for the team. The two have adapted perfectly to each other’s game and this bolstered Mayank’s success.
The successful IPL campaign has given a new lease of life to Mayank Agarwal, the opener. He has now been selected for the Australia tour in all formats and is now, a very exciting player to look out for. And with this IPL, he has definitely broke the stereotype that he fits only in the longest format of the game.
Featured Image: kxipofficial | Instagram
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