Kings XI Punjab’s unit may have had a rollercoaster start in the Indian Premier League’s 13th season, but openers Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul have scored a string of points on the UAE’s wickets. While skipper Rahul tops the charts with 222 runs from three games, Mayank is only one behind at 221. It was the ultimate dominance at the top of the duo. In a conversation with ANI, Mayank spoke about the camaraderie with the captain who is also his best friend, the frame of mind when he walks out to hit, the wickets offered in the UAE, the input from his Indian team coaching staff after the series in New Zealand. and most importantly, discussing batting with Universe Boss Chris Gayle.
From a talented cricketer in recent seasons, Mayank started this season as a proven international cricketer. While that can add to the pressure at times, the opener says he loves to get out there and express himself.
“Playing for the country has given me a lot of confidence and I enjoy the responsibility. I don’t think it has changed the position in KXIP much as we have top class cricketers here. From the start Anil bhai (Kumble) and KL (Rahul) ) have made it clear what role they want us all to play. It just makes it easier, ”he said.
While Mayank was seen starting cautiously in the first game (against Delhi Capitals), he was completely slam-scared in the third game (against Rajasthan Royals). Asked if he has a plan in mind to go into battle, Mayank said no preconceived thought helps.
“I think the first game, the wicket wasn’t the easiest to hit and the new ball kind of worked. So the plan was to play the new ball out without taking wickets and then play it from there. The wickets kept falling, so I tried to take the game deep and it worked, the third game was more about judging the situation and doing what’s right for the team.
Frankly, I think every wicket is different and I don’t think if you go with a preconceived idea, anyone will help. Yes, the weather is hot and so the wickets are spinning. But every wicket is different. And we saw that in the games that have been played, a few wickets help you bowling, while a few are really good for hitting, ”he explained.
Even when some of the best were struggling to get into the groove after the lockdown, Mayank looked smooth. The opener did give a glimpse into the secret of his success when he took the field after the coronavirus-induced break.
Luckily my older brother had dumbbells and weights at home. I trained a lot at home and once the lockdown was lifted I called RX (Murali) sir and we would both go to his academy and we would practice. and kept us doing the right things and working on areas that I needed to improve. “
“I had gotten good feedback from the New Zealand series and the Indian team coaches had also said they wanted to work on these things. So whatever they said, we worked on it and it is paying off today,” he smiled.
In fact, he’s also spent a lot of time with Gayle, and Mayank says it’s amazing how the legend has helped not only him but others with finer tips about batsmanship.
“Gayle is an integral part of KXIP, be it playing or mentorship. He spoke with all of us, contributed to the batsman meeting and also shared things that are crucial. I had great conversations with Gayle. We played for the first time. together in RCB. and just watching him play and chat is fantastic.
“Even here he told me I don’t have to do anything extraordinary, just keep trusting your skills and executing them. He asks me to go out and enjoy the game. Before the last game he said you were great hitting and just look to get in good hitting positions. If you hit well, make sure you keep scoring points. These are just a few of the many good things he keeps saying. He just doesn’t help me but a lot of the hitters, ”he revealed.
Any conversation with Mayank is incomplete without touching on the topic of his best friend and team skipper Rahul. When asked to describe Rahul as a cricket player and captain, Mayank said: “He is absolutely an extraordinary player. The kind of innings he produces and the performance he puts in is simply fantastic. There is no doubt how good a player he is. We are the best Friends makes it more fun to play together We understand each other’s game and enjoy hitting with each other We have seen that it makes hitting with him so much easier and much more fun.
“As a captain, he is very calm and collected and is a very positive person. He continues to support the players and communicates very well. Another very good point is the way he empowers the people around him and trusts them to get out and about. “Go and do. Well. The freedom to express ourselves is great. We play really good cricket under him.”
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