It wasn’t long ago that Mayank Agarwal was grinding it out in domestic cricket, with an India call-up appearing a distant dream. In fact, it would come as a surprise to many that Agarwal was not even a regular for his home state of Karnataka in First-Class (FC) matches until a couple of years ago. To break into the Indian Test side, Mayank had to out-do himself and prove his skeptics wrong.
That breakthrough happened in November 2017, when the Karnataka opener broke through the selectors’ furnished teak door with a pickaxe. Well, not literally, but there’s barely a better way to describe how exceptional Agarwal’s month was. Starting with a triple hundred to set the ball rolling, he took his tally of runs to 1064 making scores of 176, 23, 90, 133*, 173 and 104* in 28 days.
What stood out in Agarwal’s game that month was a penchant for scoring big and at a fair clip consistently. His strike rate of 68.38 in FC games came with little undue risk taken. Aggression comes naturally to him, but he would be the last person to step out and play a lofted drive when it isn’t warranted. The need to keep his natural game in wraps and play according to situation is something that Mayank learnt early in his career when trying to squeeze his way into a star-studded Karnataka team.