Punjab Kings opener Mayank Agarwal has applauded the coach of the side Anil Kumble and stated that the latter is someone who makes things easy for players, terming him a 'sharp cricket brain.' Mayank also added that he is keen to help Punjab lift their first ever IPL title, come IPL 2021.
Anil Kumble is considered one of the sharpest brains in the game. He had an impeccable coaching record for India's senior men's side too before he had a fall-out with the Indian skipper Virat Kohli. Whoever has worked under him at the Punjab-based franchise has been in awe of the Indian legend. Mayank Agarwal has had an even better understanding with Anil Kumble as both hail from the state of Karnataka and knew each other beforehand.
Ahead of the 2021 IPL season that kick-starts from April 9, the Punjab Kings opener asserted that Kumble has a 'sharp cricket brain' and it's' easy' to work under someone like the leg-spinner as he understands his game. Agarwal added that the inputs Kumble gave him last season helped him a lot to do well.
"It is not just me who looks up to Anil bhai for several reasons. He has a sharp cricket brain and knows exactly what he wants from me. I will be spending time with him in the nets ahead of matches. It becomes a bit easy when you have a coach like him, who knows your game well and also your potential. His inputs helped me do well last season. I hope this time too I am able to absorb whatever he has to say about my game," Agarwal told HT.
Not only with Kumble, Agarwal's Karnataka connection is pretty strong with the skipper KL Rahul as well as both the players grew up playing together for their state side and know each other well. This year, Punjab will play five games in Bangalore. Speaking about Rahul, Mayank remarked that the right-hander is incredible and revealed the two have a great understanding.
"Rahul is an incredible cricketer. His game makes scoring look very easy. It would be amazing to go out there and play together in Bengaluru. I have always enjoyed with him as partner at the other end. This is the fourth year we will be playing for Punjab. Our friendship helps us gel on the field as we understand each other’s game well. I am hoping for another electric season for both of us."
The KL Rahul-led side didn't have the best of IPL seasons last time as they failed to reach the playoffs, and Agarwal highlighted 'inconsistency' as the major reason behind the same.
"We missed qualifying for the playoffs last season by one victory. Punjab Kings need to be consistent and display a good brand of cricket to taste success. The team has been successful in clusters in the past, but we have lacked consistency."
Mayank had a rough time of late. He was dropped from the Test side and then was axed from the T20I side despite not getting many chances in the shortest format. However, the 30-year-old is confident that a good IPL season can help him in many ways.
"IPL is a long tournament with so many matches. I will look to make the best use of opportunities and let my performances help my team win the title. A good show in IPL always works wonders. As far as the T20 World Cup goes, I am not thinking about it. It is still quite far. But yes, I would like to make an impression."
There is a cut-throat competition for the opening slots in the Indian team but Mayank feels that it only pumps him up to do even better.
"It pumps me up, I’m more focused, raring to take up the challenges and better my performances. In the last two-three years, Indian cricket has gone upwards and I think it is in the most exciting phase at the moment. The competition makes me more determined to deliver."