He might not be playing for RCB, but Karnataka’s cricket fans still have a strong fondness for this Bengaluru boy. Namma Mayank Agarwal has been displaying his batting skills for Kings XI Punjab this IPL and has managed to entertain fans with some great knocks.
Ask him about his IPL journey so far and he replies, “It’s been a very good experience and I’m quite happy with the way I’ve been batting. Having runs under my belt gives me confidence.” Mayank has made two fifties in different matches including one in a game where he and his Karnataka buddy KL Rahul built a fantastic partnership. While he’s someone who’s made his mark in the domestic circuit with phenomenal performances, his IPL stints over the years haven’t been that memorable.
But this year looks like his breakthrough IPL. Did earning a Test cap brush off on his confidence this season? “Yes, definitely, having played Tests gives a lot of confidence. Doing well in Australia gave me assurance as a player. Of course, runs in any format gives confidence. So, having had a great domestic season and my international debut has surely rubbed onto the IPL,” says Mayank.
How has it been playing with his close buddy Rahul? “It’s been great playing with KL on the side. When you know the batsman as well as you know each other, it becomes easy to bat and communication becomes simpler – the way KL has been batting makes everything easy. The kind of friendship all of us have in the team is great — we enjoy each other’s company,” he smiles.
With Rahul having made it to the Indian WC squad, how did he feel as his good buddy? “We are very happy that Rahul has made it to the World Cup team. The way he’s batting, I wish he keeps going and goes onto England and gets the cup back home,” says the cricketer.
Mayank, who got hitched to his sweetheart Ashita Sood last year, is often seen posting pictures with his lady love, who also travels with him at times. He reveals that his bond with his Punjab team mates is excellent too. “The atmosphere in the team is fantastic. I’ve made new friends and having played with David Miller and also Mandeep (he’s been my friend since U-15 days), it’s nice to play with them again. There are a lot of our age group guys here including seven ex-RCBians!” he reveals.
With so many back-to-back games and a choc-a-bloc schedule, what’s his secret to dealing with the pressure? “IPL is a competition where you are going to have back-to-back games. It’s more about the mindset — I look at it as more of an opportunity to play and perform in continuous games than pressure — you’ve got to push yourself mentally and physically,” says the batsman, who does a lot of T20 power training, speed-based training and quick sprints to keep fit and agile.
With many local fans of the sport supporting Punjab ‘cos of the Karnataka quotient in the squad, what message does he have for their supporters? “We just wish they keep continuing to support us — we love it and look forward to more of it,” smiles Mayank.