Ranji Trophy: High scoring Agarwal managing emotions better

Karnataka Ranji Trophy batsman Mayank Agarwal followed up his triple century against Maharashtra with a knock of 176 against Delhi on Friday to show that he has now assimilated the art of putting a price on his wicket.

Karnataka batsman Mayank Agarwal waving his bat at the crowd after scoring a century against Delhi in the Ranji Trophy cricket match at the Alur KSCA Grounds in Bengaluru.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

When Mayank Agarwal batted for over 12 hours against Maharashtra in Pune for his triple century, he surprised many, for, he was a batsman schooled more in the methods of limited-overs cricket. Then when he followed that up by being at the crease for six hours during his 176-run vigil against Delhi here, it became obvious that he has now assimilated the art of putting a price on his wicket.

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“I have always worked hard [on batting for long hours],” Mayank said on Friday. “I did a lot of long distance running. It has helped me. For a guy who hits around 1000 balls in a couple of days, that's not too much and I am glad I could do that.”

'RX' Murali, former Karnataka U-19 coach who has worked with Mayank extensively, said that he always had this quality in him but only that it was sporadic in its appearance.

“Right from his younger days, he has got more double hundreds than anyone else,” said Murali. “When he was a 15-year-old at the KSCA academy, against a visiting Australian team we had to call him out. He had scores like 150, 160. Temperament was never an issue. But only thing was runs would come in heaps and then there was a lull.”

The trick, Murali said, was to move away from finding technical solutions to his problems.

“It was tiring to see someone score so many runs and come back with complains about technique” Murali recollected. “He has been with me for three years and initially we were too technical. This year we decided that we were going to ignore technique a bit and look at skill.

“I became more of a problem creator for him. I used to say ‘20 overs, you need to survive the new ball. Play it any way you want to and if you can do that consistently, you just stick to that.’ In this method, he let go of his obsession with technique."

So when Mayank was dismissed for a pair against Hyderabad did he have a relapse?

“No. We’ve learnt to manage emotions better,” Murali said. “Earlier, every failure was building up and his goal was getting further way. It took us a lot of time to think ‘so what?’ The moment he did that, he started opening up.” And how well has he.

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