Mayank Agarwal lives on the outskirts of Bangalore, almost nearing the Tamil Nadu border crossing. Not that Bangalore is bereft of plush places in and around the Chinnaswamy or in the heart of the city, but he prefers to have his quiet time and ample space. The space gives him not just the freedom to get away from the humdrum of everyday life, but also focus on things that matter.

The large open spaces in and around his abode is where he beat the lockdown blues indulging in a lot of distance running. Scaling those five kilometres day in and day out is how Mayank kept his body attuned to the requirements of an international cricketer. He used the downtime not just to get fit; but to build strength and keep abreast of the prerequisites that the profession demanded when he wasn’t cooking or lazing on a hammock reading.

Vipassana is as integral a part of his life as cricket is, earning him but the nickname ‘monk’ as he’s famously known. Whilst vipassana is not everyone’s cup of tea, with most unable to sustain even the ten-day camps, Mayank has attended a number of them and has seen them through repeatedly.

And as soon as things started to open up, he resumed training at the RX training academy with his personal coach, doing what he does best ahead of an Indian Premier League season, that nobody knew would take place when, but with the single-minded attention to have a breakthrough season.

Mayank Agarwal

A Maiden IPL Ton Scored by Mayank Agarwal

Mayank was promoted to the opener’s slot in the IPL 2020 for Punjab, and almost even carried his bat through and his team across the line against Delhi Capitals in their tournament opener. He, however, fell short, departing for 89 after a lone battle. On Sunday (September 27), though, it was a scene all too familiar for Mayank, who was batting alongside his best man, KL Rahul.

A friendship that dates back to having first met each other at an age-group camp as 15-year-olds, has now come a long way. They’ve since gone on to open the batting for India in the 2010 U-19 World Cup and when Agarwal was making his Ranji Trophy debut, who else but Rahul was at the other end. Another feather was added to their cap of camaraderie with Rahul being at the other end when Mayank scored his maiden IPL century.

Batting together for Punjab in what was a sensational partnership after being asked to bat, Mayank and Rahul were like two peas in a pod, putting on a batting exhibition in Sharjah. Mayank pulled the pacers primarily on the leg side, while Rahul hit them on the off-side, as both complemented each other beautifully.

In a partnership that fetched Punjab 183, Rahul was happy to let his buddy take the centre stage, playing second fiddle, as Mayank took on the role of the aggressor and was instrumental in Punjab amassing 223.

Mayank Agarwal Scores the second fastest IPL century by an Indian

“It’s a lot of amusing to bat with Rahul,” he said after the game. “Top-class cricketer, top person, we share a decent friendship even on the field.. The talk was that if one of us at least gets a start, one between us two has to bat through.

“It feels amazing (to get the hundred), but more importantly we got good runs,” he said to the host broadcaster after Punjab’s innings. “You got the opportunity to give yourself some time, since it’s not as simple as it appears.”

Mayank signed up with renowned sports nutritionist Ryan Fernando recently, with a greater focus on his diet. He began intermittent fasting, after having adopted a vegetarian diet sometime ago with the difference in his build between pre-covid and post, stark, with a leaner and stronger frame.

Mayank Agarwal

However, it was Mayank’s association with a nutrition company that kicked off during his Ranji days that spurred him into distance running and have a keener focus on his fitness and diet. The large isolated areas around his house, ample backyard space kept those 5ks coming, and together with his plyometric workouts, the game had changed for the 29-year-old.

He’s put in the hard yards, and his hunger to strive to be the best in every format, is quite visible. From a T20 player to a Test player to shining through in T20s again, it’s been quite a journey for him. Mayank’s first shot where he dispatched Ankit Rajpoot over long off set the tone for his knock of a 50-ball 106 that comprised of ten fours and seven sixes. “I’m much more quiet than previously, backing myself and giving myself a ton of time. Lots of hard work in the nets, it’s paying off now.”

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