Mayank Agarwal: Rahul Dravid helped me manage my mental energy
"With that said, it's a learning curve. If I don't make this mistake again, it will be a good learning."
One of the great coups Indian cricket snagged some three years back was getting Rahul Dravid on board as coach of the national U-19 and 'A' sides. The former skipper, blessed with unquestioned cricketing wisdom and nous, is also an excellent man-manager and the ideal life-skills teacher for his young charges who need more hand-holding — especially at the U-19 level — than those in the senior side.
During his period of apprenticeship, waiting for the India call-up that only came last October during the home Test series against West Indies, Mayank Agarwal spent plenty of time with Dravid on 'A' tours, feeding off the latter's experience and expertise.
Dravid's coaching philosophy revolves around getting individuals to retain their identity and maximise their potential rather than making wholesale structural changes to technique and the like. It is, however, his inputs with regard to managing time, taming a raging mind, accepting success and failure with equanimity, and playing the game in the right spirit that can be extended to a period beyond one's cricketing career.
"Obviously, playing under him is good," Agarwal said at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) yesterday. "We as batsmen speak about our technique and the game, and he is out there to help us, guide us and help us climb the ladder. And his advice has been really helpful. He told me to particularly think about how to manage my mental energy. That's something we have spoken about for four-six months and he has helped me go through that path".
The Karnataka opener is still a work in progress, though, and is intelligent enough, having bided his time before breaking into the Test side, to understand that it will be to his own detriment to not make a good thing count. Having cruised to 77 and with the bowling at his mercy, he holed out against Nathan Lyon, caught at long-on looking for a third six with a hundred for the taking.
"I am quite disappointed at missing out on a big score, really disappointed that I threw my wicket away," he admitted, forthright but not too downcast. "With that said, it's a learning curve. If I don't make this mistake again, it will be a good learning."
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