Ranji Trophy 2022-23 – Mayank Agarwal hits the reset button to focus firmly on Karnataka

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Mayank Agarwal is not focused as much on a Test comeback as he is on emulating the Ranji Trophy season in 2017-18 when he topped the charts 1160 runs in 13 innings,
Agarwal is not a part of India’s Test tour of Bangladesh, having suffered a dip in form in the last six months. Shubman Gill and Abhimanyu Easwaran are doing everything they can to impress the selectors. Add to this the fact that he has also been released by his IPL franchise Punjab Kings, which he captained earlier this year.
Amidst all this, Agarwal has been handed over the captaincy of Karnataka. The team reached the knockouts in both T20 and 50 over matches. Now, he is set to lead them in Ranji Trophy, replacing his contemporary Manish Pandey, who was ousted from the top post after a mediocre 2021-22 first-class season where Karnataka lost in the quarter-finals.

“I am working on emulating what I did in 2017-18 when I had a good season,” Agarwal said in Bengaluru ahead of Karnataka’s Ranji opener against Services on Tuesday. “I’ve gone back a little bit, watched those videos, gone through those game plans and worked around that.

“For me, that result or end goal [India selection] Will take care of himself. I want to look at my processes, the areas I need to improve and what I need to do to continue doing the way I was doing. And I back myself for giving those performances.”

Agarwal has a strong batting line-up with R Samarth, Devdutt Padikkal and Pandey in the mix. The only notable absentee is Karun Nair, who has been out of favor with the selectors for three seasons due to poor form. However, at times during the last campaign it looked like he was rediscovering his touch.

As he takes charge of a young team in transition, Agarwal will be looking to create an atmosphere similar to 2013-14 when he made his first-class debut after years of being pigeonholed as a white-ball batsman. player.

“We have to keep encouraging them, create a good environment for them to flourish,” Agarwal said. “He is in the team because he has performed in age-group cricket. Nikin did very well in Vijay Hazare as well. We want him to continue that form. As a team, we want an environment where Where they can come here, learn, execute and flourish, put in match-winning performances for Karnataka and play for the country.

“I want to encourage them [youngsters], because he has performed. They are skilled, they have flair and talent. We want to support them and help them learn. The atmosphere we want to create in the team is one that wants to win trophies and we are hungry for it.

“The more we win and the more we enjoy each other’s success, it will come. Each one of us has to be part of this environment, it’s not about one or two players coming in and creating it. If 20-25 of us make it, it will all pile up together. And when things pile up, the results will automatically come out.”

Karnataka last won the Ranji Trophy in 2014-15 and have stumbled in the knockouts for three consecutive seasons. In 2018–19 and 2019–20, they lost in the semi-finals to Saurashtra and Bengal respectively. Last season, they had to face defeat from Uttar Pradesh in the quarter-finals. Agarwal doesn’t want the team to be burdened with being almost all men.

“We talked about the legacy [of Karnataka cricket] And realized that if we keep thinking about winning, winning, winning all the time, it’s not going to happen. That said, we’ve said how hungry we are, but we also have to have a plan and adapt. Be disciplined. If we can do that, the skills we have will automatically yield results. We are determined to win, there is no doubt about it. We want to win the trophy for Karnataka.”

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