Mayank Agarwal, India's opener in the longest format, has said that he is excited to work with Rahul Dravid - the new India head coach. Agarwal stated that he had an enjoyable experience working with Dravid while playing for India A, adding that he former India captain has always been approachable.
The former India skipper was appointed as the head coach after Ravi Shastri ended his four-year tenure as a head coach in the Indian team following the Men In Blue’s exit after the Super 12 round in the recently concluded T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman. Dravid carries the experience of coaching the India A and the U-19 teams since 2015. Under his coaching, the U-19 team has reached the final of the Junior ODI World Cup twice, in 2016 and 2020. In 2018, they won the championship beating Australia in the final.
Dravid’s stint as India head coach will start with the home series against New Zealand consisting three T20Is and Two Tests. Meanwhile Agarwal has revealed that he used to speak with the 48-year-old on the phone and share each other’s thoughts.
"With Rahul Bhai, we had a very enjoyable experience with him as India A coach and we have been in touch. I am really excited to be working with him in the Indian team as well," Agarwal told PTI in a telephonic interaction.
"And it is not only now, even before, when we were part of India A, we could just pick up the phone and speak to him and share what was on our mind. He is very approachable that way.”
The Karnataka opener, who has amassed 1052 runs in 14 Tests, added that he is looking forward to the series against the World Test Championship defending champions and he was happy with the performance in the IPL 2021 for Punjab Kings.
"I am really looking forward to (the series) and I am really excited to be part of the team against New Zealand.
"I think, I was very happy with the way I have performed (in the IPL). I have really grown into the role that the team expected of me and I have been an aggressor upfront and whenever the opportunity presented; I looked to bat through the innings. I enjoyed the responsibility of sometimes batting through the innings (and) that is something that I have learnt and really enjoyed," the Karnataka opener added.
Agarwal further added that he enjoyed the responsibility of captaining Punjab in the IPL in the absence of his long-time friend KL Rahul.
"I was captain for one game and I also enjoyed that responsibility. It was unfortunate that KL (Rahul) had to miss out, because of injury. “We have been great friends, we have played all our cricket together and when I made my debut, he was there with the Indian team. He always has words of encouragement and always supported (me) and we have really enjoyed batting together and we communicate really well in the middle," the right-hander further added.
The 30-year-old recalled his memories of his Test debut against Australia, way back in 2018 in Melbourne and concluded saying that the role of an opening batsmen is challenging.
"That was very special, playing my first Test match and that too on Boxing Day at MCG," the 30-year-old said, adding that he remembers a lot about that 76-run knock, which he made on his debut.
"We'll see, an opener's role is challenging and that is something we have prepared for throughout our career, to overcome different challenges. Different countries have different conditions and in Australia there is a lot more bounce, and in New Zealand, there is swing and seam, we have worked hard on that as well and we have overcome challenges and we are winning a lot more, a lot more series abroad now," he signed off.