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‘Your character stood out for me’: Kohli to Mayank Agarwal – cricket


Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli has been a role model for several young cricketers who are now making their presence felt for the team in international cricket. Part of the reason behind Kohli’s success at the helm of Indian cricket has been his ability to spot talent and back youngsters.

The successes of the likes of Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav are prime examples of Kohli taking the tradition of backing young talent, set by former captains MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly, forward.

Another one of the youngsters who has blossomed under Kohli’s captaincy is Mayank Agarwal. The opening batsman had to wait long for his international debut, despite making a bagful of runs in domestic cricket. But when he was given an opportunity he grabbed it with both hands.

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Agarwal, who has been interviewing the greats of Indian cricket during the enforced break due to the pandemic, recently spoke to captain Kohli. Speaking about the time when Agarwal made his debut in the historic Test series in Australia, Kohli said that he decided to give the opener his debut cap due to his strong character.

‘Your character stood out for me than the number of runs you scored,” Kohli said.

Agarwal made his debut in the third Test of the series in Melbourne and scored a gritty half century as India won the Test match which eventually gave their maiden series win down under.

“I had seen you play for RCB, even then you played international bowlers with conviction and you would take them on. You were performing in first-class matches in a dominating way. That is something always stood out with you, I would say your character stood out for me than the number of runs. I knew you would be fearless without having any baggage,” Kohli told Agarwal in a video posted on the official website of BCCI. 

The opener currently averages a whopping 57.29 in 11 Test matches with a tally of 974 runs. If he gets those 26 runs in his next innings, he could tie Cheteshwar Pujara for being the second fastest Indian to the 1000 Test runs mark.

Kohli also spoke about youngster Hanuma Vihari, who opened the innings with Agarwal in the match. The Andhra batsman has since settled in the middle order.

“For me, the biggest marker is how a person approaches the game, so for example when you opened and we made Vihari open with you. The first opportunity we presented Vihari to open the batting, he said yes to it and that matters me to the most,” Kohli said.

“I opened in my first series for India, I said yes to this opportunity and things worked out fine for me. So, a guy who wants to get into tough situations will come out either holding his head high or learning from his mistakes,” he added.

Both Kohli and Agarwal are expected to battle it out against each other in the IPL when they turn out for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab respectively.


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