Agarwal writes his own fate and how!

COMPOSED KNOCK: India's Mayank Agarwal (right) celebrates his half-century with team-mate Cheteshwar Pujara on the first day of the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne on Wednesday. AP/PTI

Mayank Agarwal made his first-class debut for Karnataka in 2013 and it took him two years to score his first ton in the longer format. In the intervening period, he has developed a reputation as the limited-over batsman thanks to his breezy cameos in the Indian Premier League and limited-overs matches for India 'A'.

“The label of limited-over cricketer is definitely one of my concerns,” he has admitted in an interview to DH. “I haven't got a hundred in the four-day format. It worries me that people are just going to tag me as a one-day and T20 player. Whenever I get the chance, I should make it count. Otherwise, I'm writing my own fate,” he had said.

Agarwal did write his own fate and how! Since his maiden ton – a 108 against Maharashtra in Hubballi – Agarwal has reeled off seven more tons, including a triple century against the same opponents last year besides several half-centuries, and in the process made a strong claim for a place in the senior Indian team. After waiting in the wings that seemed an eternity, Agarwal finally earned his much-deserved chance on perhaps the biggest stage that he can dream of away from home - a Boxing Day Test debut.

With over 70,000 spectators in high “spirits” and a pace attack that was relentless in pursuit of his wicket, he showed amazing calm and poise for a debutant. He admitted that he had a lot of emotions running through his mind when he received the cap from skipper Virat Kohli but he did remarkable job of hiding them as he carved a smooth 76 to give India the start they were looking for. Building on it, India had progressed to 215 for two at the end of the day with Cheteshwar Pujara (66 n.o.) and Virat Kohli (47 n.o.) looking good in the middle.

Asked about his development as the longer-format batsman, the 27-year-old said he was happy he was able to make the changes required to his game and adapt.     

“I just think that the basics remain the same in all formats and you just got to stick to what you have been doing best,” he emphasised. “I have got runs from T20 to one-dayers to now in Test. I am happy that I am making those changes and I am able to adapt. As a player you want to play all the formats of the game, and obviously playing Test cricket is one of those biggest things you want to be doing as a cricketer.”

Agarwal appeared so comfortable in the middle that a century appeared to be his for the taking but he had to settle for 76 which was still the best score by an Indian debutant in Australia.    

“I am happy but obviously I would have liked more,” said Agarwal when asked if he was disappointed with missing out on a century. “I am happy, I would definitely take 76 rather than take something less than that. That said I would have liked to go on and score runs and stay not out at the end of the day.”

DH News Service

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