India vs Australia: Mayank Agarwal scripts record in fairytale debut on Boxing Day
From being ignored time and again despite topping the scoring charts in domestic cricket to scoring a brilliant 76 on debut in a Boxing Day Test for India, life has indeed come a full circle for opener Mayank Agarwal. Frustration and anger is bound to creep in when you score 1160 runs in a Ranji season at an average of 105.45 and still fail to break into the national team. But then, Mayank channelised the anger to keep scoring more runs to ensure that the selectors were bound to notice his efforts and reward him with a national call-up.
The Test cap finally came in the third game of the ongoing four-match series between India and Australia Down Under and the boy from Karnataka didn’t disappoint. At a time when the Indian openers have found the going extremely tough against the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, Mayank showed the perfect mix of flair and application to become the first Indian opener to score a fifty on debut in Australia — considered one of the toughest countries to tour.
During the first innings show of brilliance, Mayank’s score of 76 is the highest by any Indian debutant in Australia. Also it is now the highest score by an Indian opener away from home. Mayank became the seventh Indian opener to score a 50 on debut. He also became the third opener this year to score a 50 on debut (Fakhar Zaman and Aaron Finch are the others). Interestingly, he is only the second Indian player after Dattu Phadkar to score a 50 on debut in Australia and only the second Indian opener after Sunil Gavaskar to score a 50 on debut away from home.
Speaking on the eve of the game, coach Irfan Sait had said that he was expecting a Virender Sehwag-like innings from his ward. While many would wilt under the pressure of expectations, Mayank ensured that future coaches would want their wards to show the quality that the 27-year-old showed on the opening day of the historic Boxing Day Test at the picturesque Melbourne Cricket Ground.
While many players succumb to the disappointment of being consistently overlooked by the national selectors, Mayank found solace in former India skipper Rahul Dravid’s words. “He is a person we always go to whenever we need some help, you know, for any kind of advice. He kept saying to repeat the process, stick to scoring runs, what has to happen, will happen. I just followed his advice and it helped a lot,” the right-hander had told Hindustan Times after his maiden national team call-up.
Clearly, he has ensured that he keeps repeating the process, even if that means attacking Australia’s in-form spinner Nathan Lyon on and off to ensure that the offie doesn’t settle down. The fairytale has only begun, but it has…