At a time when Agarwal was unsure about whether he'll ever get the call to play for India, it was Dravid who put his mind at ease.
With the nation locked indoors due to the coronavirus pandemic, sportspersons have been surprisingly
open to earnest interviews over the internet. In another such one-on-one conversation hosted by ESPN
Cricinfo, Mayank Agarwal opened up to Sanjay Manjrekar.
As the conversation rolled around to Agarwal’s Test debut in Australia, he recalled how at the end of a
Ranji Trophy game in Gujarat late in 2018 came the call to pack his bags and head to Australia for what
would be his Test debut for India.
This was after he was named for India’s Test Squad against the West Indies a few months prior, in
September, but never actually got to play.
However, there was a point where even getting picked for the India team was looking like a distant
dream for Agarwal. When he confided this doubt to Rahul Dravid, the legendary cricketer imparted
some advice for which Agarwal is grateful to this day.
“Not everything is in your hand. You’ve worked hard to get here, and you’re as close as you can get.
Selection is not in your hand,” Dravid told him at the time.
“What is to say that the coming October or November is not going to be different from September?”
Dravid asked Agarwal, while cautioning him against overthinking and developing a negative mindset.
“That kept me going,” Agarwal now admits.
So when that call to pack his bags and rush to Australia finally came over the phone, before doing
anything else, Agarwal called up his Dravid bhai to tell him the good news.
Agarwal went on to score 76 runs in his first innings on his debut at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds,
setting a new record for an Indian cricketer on a Test debut in Australia, beating the prior record of 51
by Dattu Phadkar at the Sydney Cricket Ground over 70 years ago, in 1947.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis