Mayank Agarwal — the number man unplugged!

The India A opener, who smashed 220 in the first four-day game against South Africa A, reveals the secret to his consistency and the essence of the new partnership with Prithvi Shaw.

Able ally: Mayank Agarwal (right) says Prithvi Shaw (left) and he form a “great pair.”   -  PTI

Karnataka batsman Mayank Agarwal took less than a month — 27 days to be precise — to score 1,000 runs in the Ranji Trophy last season. He has been addicted to numbers. The 27-year-old amassed 2,169 runs in 32 innings in the entire domestic season.

The Indian Premier League didn’t witness his best, but the attacking right-hander relaunched the number game as soon as he entered the India A side — 151 not out (against Leicester in England), 112 (against West Indies A), 112 (against England Lions) and now, 220 (against South Africa A) is the new high.

Read - Mayank Agarwal: 'I'm just happy that I'm batting well'

Ahead of the second four-day game against South Africa A at the Platinum Oval here, Mayank, in a chat with Sportstar, talks about his learnings from the England tour, opening partner Prithvi Shaw and the improvement under Rahul Dravid’s mentorship.

Excerpts...

You seem to be back in your zone, turning it around in England after a quiet IPL. What brings the best out of you when playing red-ball cricket?

To be really honest, it’s a better understanding of my game and more awareness of how I respond and react to situations. A good understanding of [my] game is helping me score runs. As a player, I can’t pick out one tournament. If it didn’t go well, it didn’t. If I do well in four tournaments out of five, it is fine. It is bound to happen. I am happy I have turned it around.

What were the lessons learnt in England?

Rahul bhai (Rahul Dravid) always says these tours are all about learning and handling different conditions. The ball moved around a bit. We played with the Dukes ball for the first time. I also learnt how to pace an innings.

The wickets in England seemed flat during the ODI series but the Edgbaston Test last week portrayed a different picture...

The wind keeps blowing all day, there is something for the bowlers [throughout] the day. As a batsman, how you handle that is crucial. If you are set, you need to take your team through as it is not easy for a new batsman to come out and score runs in England. Those were the challenges we faced.

Read: India's bench test — the second round begins

How is it batting with Prithvi? Does it feel like you are batting with an 18-year-old?

No. I think he is an extremely good player who has been getting runs. We form a great pair and we enjoy batting [with] each other. As we play more games, we will be able to understand each other better. It is important to be good friends as that helps a player complement the other one. If there is a flaw in any of us, we should be able to tell each other. We can always help each other out.

India A is half-step away from being in the senior team, do you have such thoughts while batting?

That’s not something we were spoken about in the A side. We are happy to play the A games. These tournaments are all about bridging the gap between domestic and international cricket. It is about facing better standard of bowling compared to the domestic season. It is not only about selection.

What makes Dravid standout as coach?

He passes all his knowledge. If there is anything you want to chat about, he is an open person, all of us go to him. We talk about our game, and if there is something troubling our mindset. If he remains the coach for a long time, it will be helpful as we are developing a rapport. He will understand us, and our game better with time. All his talks are positive, that’s the best thing about him. He keeps emphasising on the good things that you are doing.