Robin Uthappa has revealed that it was former Karnataka state captain R Vinay Kumar that helped turn Mayank Agarwal’s career around with his motivational words. Agarwal struck his first century, which was converted to a double, helping India to a massive 502 in the first Test against South Africa.
An out-of-form Agarwal was facing the axe the state squad when the skipper stepped in with a dose of vocal tonic. It proved to be the spur behind his first triple hundred in first-class cricket (304 not out) against Maharashtra the very next game, and 136 runs in Pune. From there till his 215 yesterday, Agarwal has just not stopped scoring runs.
"I remember we contemplated dropping him from a Ranji game but when (captain) R Vinay Kumar gave him a push (motivational words), he scored a triple hundred and did not look back. He will only get better with more opportunities. This will give him a lot of confidence," Uthappa told PTI on the sidelines of a Kolkata Knight Riders promotional programme.
Agarwal shared a 317-run opening stand with first-time opener Rohit Sharma, who himself scored an entertaining 176. Uthappa reckons that a perfect understanding of his own game was the key to Rohit’s rise to become one of the best batsmen in the world.
"He has always done well in India and abroad. In white-ball cricket, he dominates the scene right now. He is arguably one of the best batsmen in the world. He has reached a point in his career where he understands his batting really well and knows what works for him. Given that situation, he must be going through a huge surge in confidence," Uthappa said.
After a stupendous World Cup campaign, where Rohit smashed five centuries and finished as the tournament’s highest run-scorer, Uthappa applauded him for making the move up the order in Tests as well. However, he was not keen on comparing Rohit with Virender Sehwag’s approach to opening in red-ball cricket.
"I think he has figured out opening the batting and this opportunity came at the right moment for Rohit to capitalise on it. So it's not a surprise that he is successful. Viru pa would demolish the ball while Rohit caresses it. The way they go about dealing with bowlers is vastly different but the aggressive nature is the common factor," Uthappa added.