Mayank Agarwal almost had the perfect debut for India, scoring a fluent 76 on the opening day of the Melbourne Test but the Karnataka batsman said he would have been happier had he ended the day unbeaten and also credited the Ranji Trophy for making him a better player.
“I am lucky to make my debut at MCG, I did everything that was required of me in Ranji Trophy, learned a lot from playing Ranji in last 5 years, playing in different conditions in different centres,” Agarwal said in the post-match conference.
The opener went on to make the highest score by an Indian batsman on debut in Australia but wished for a bigger score.
“I am happy but I would have liked to score more. I would take 76 but I would have liked to score more and stay unbeaten at the end of the day,” he said.
“It was a tremendous feeling to get the cap, lot of emotions and something I’ll cherish for rest of my life,” Agarwal said, after looking comfortable at the crease.
“It wasn’t easy to get hold of emotions, it needed to be done and I stuck to the plan. It (making debut) was overwhelming and happy with the way I started,” the 27-year-old opener said.
Agarwal has bided his time to turn out in Indian colours for a long time. After making his first-class debut back in 2013, the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy was the breakthrough season for this precocious batsman with 1,160 runs in just 13 innings at an average of 105.45.
Asked about his views on the MCG track, Agarwal said, “No complaint about the pitch. It was good to bat on, did do a bit early on and was a bit slow. But as the day went on it got quicker. Obviously I didn’t think too much about the wicket, I wanted to stay blank and take every ball as it comes.”
Agarwal, who currently plays for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, came close to making his debut against the West Indies earlier this year but was pipped by Mumbai opener Prithvi Shaw.
“I was very happy to get picked (for the West Indies series). From then on, it was not in my hands. After WI series, there was lot of domestic cricket and India ‘A’ games, so there was no time for disappointment. The focus on playing those games well,” he said.
On his opening partner in this Test, Hanuma Vihari, Agarwal said, “I am opening batsman and I was preparing for it (the debut) for some time now. Vihari is good player, he has tons of runs at Ranji Trophy and ‘A’ cricket, including a triple hundred while batting at No. 3. We started off well, we might not have a big score but played out a lot of balls.”
The debutant felt that India is in a strong position, if the rest of the batsmen can build on the solid start. “If the batters can do what we have been doing today, the bigger the score, the more pressure we can put. It’s nice to have guys who can bat long, we are doing that, the longer we bat and better for us,” he said.