Mayank Agarwal had to wait a while to earn his first India cap but when he got the chance he made it count. The opener made a fine 76 on Test debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, showing he belonged at that level, before scoring an attacking 77 in the fourth Test as India completed a historic series victory. He spoke to Sportstar on his returns from Australia.
Debut at the MCG…
I was a bit nervous. When I walked into the MCG and looked around at that packed Boxing Day crowd, I thought, 'Wow, I'm in the middle of something big.' Once I got a couple of shots going, I was in the zone. Scoring that 76 was really good. I felt nice, confident. It helped me get rid of all the nerves and reassured me that whatever I'd planned was working.
The day before…
Ravi (Shastri) sir had told me that I'd be playing. He told me, 'You've come up the hard way. You've come up scoring a lot of runs. Do what you've been doing. This is no different.' There were also encouraging words from Sanjay Bangar (assistant coach). When I got the cap, Virat Kohli said it was a fantastic venue to make a Test debut. 'Bigger the occasion, bigger the opportunity to make a mark,' he said. Nice words from all of them.
Talking to K.L. Rahul…
KL was always there for me. We both went out for coffee (on the eve of the third Test) and we discussed what was in store for me. He told me what the Australians will be looking to do to me. He told me a very important thing about how different things inside the ground are; from what is spoken outside. So he helped me be practical about the whole thing.
The Sydney innings…
I am disappointed that I missed out on a big score — not just a hundred; it could have been more. My plan was to attack Nathan Lyon and it didn't work out. I've learnt a lesson and want to look ahead.
Making history with the Indian team…
The feeling is just indescribable. We've always heard that Test cricket is the ultimate and read about it. But actually experiencing it was tremendous. For all of us, it is a big thing to have achieved a series win in Australia which had never happened before. We cherish and respect that.
The long wait for an India cap…
You might get a few thoughts here and there but the good thing is there is so much cricket and you are focusing on that. Every individual's journey is different and I had faith that if I kept doing what I was doing, my time would come. And I'm grateful I got a chance to represent India.
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