With the fifth edition of Indian Premier League scheduled to kick off on April 4 in Chennai, home of the defending champions, the buzz around the tournament seems to be taking flight already. Apart from news around the availability of international players and teams announcing new buys, players too are getting into the IPL mood. One such player is RCB opener Mayank Agarwal.
The nonchalant youngster was a bright spot in a disappointing Under-19 World Cup for India held in New Zealand. He was the top-scoring batsman for his side in the tournament.
He is an explosive batsman with a strike-rate touching 100 in Under-19 one-dayers. He was also Man of the Series in the India Under-19 team’s tour Down Under in 2010. Facing up to Zaheer Khan, Dirk Nannes and Daniel Vettori in the Bangalore nets was obviously a whole new ball game for this Bangalore lad but he didn’t fail to impress. He showed grit against some of world’s best bowlers and was appreciated for his fielding too.
The 2011 IPL was your debut season. What was the experience like for you?
I was a bit nervous at start. I had never played in front of such huge crowd but as the tournament progressed I got used to it. I spoke to a lot of my senior players and they would constantly tell me how to deal with pressure and performing in front of a huge audience. It was a great experience all together.
You got a fairly decent break last year and you were even given an opportunity to play on top of the batting order. Can you tell me how IPL 4 has helped you in your game?
IPL 4 was my first season and I think the break I got was really good. I don’t exactly know what went behind making me play on top of the batting order but in terms of exposure it was fabulous. I got to play against so many world-class senior players and sharing the dressing room with the likes of Gayle, de Villiers, Vettori was fantastic. As a 20-year-old getting to play alongside these guys, there was nothing more that I could ask for. It taught me a lot. I used to constantly talk to Virat. He told me how to pace my innings especially when we are chasing and all that.
What do you think was the highlight of your debut season?
I think as a cricketer, the team’s performance brings more satisfaction that individual performance. From being at the bottom of the table reaching the final of the tournament, I think, was the greatest highlight last year. Watching Gayle bat the way he did and Virat’s innings too was superb. Though we lost the final, I think getting till there was quite a turn around.
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You are an aggressive player by nature. Your debut tour for India Down Under was brilliant where you made 130-ball 160. Don’t you feel that adapting to the longer version like Test cricket would be quite a challenge for you?
For any cricketer, playing the Test cricket is the ultimate dream. I obviously hope to play the Test and style of play really does not matter as long as you are scoring runs. I am quite aggressive when it comes to batting and that has sort of worked for me so far.
With about three months to go for the next season of IPL, how are you gearing up for the season?
I’m hoping this year too will be a good season for RCB. I am working on my batting and fielding. I have had a good season in the domestic so far. We have state under-25 coming up so hoping to do well in that. There is still time so lets see how things pan out.