Technique won’t guarantee runs all the time, but will to fight is key: Mayank

After playing a huge role in India’s massive win over New Zealand in the second Test, opener Mayank Agarwal on Monday said that technique does not always guarantee runs but the determination to fight is key to good performance.

Agarwal produced a 150-run knock in the first innings and followed that up with a 62-run innings to be adjudged player of the Match.

“It feels good to be back among the runs and this knock is special for me. I didn’t change anything from Kanpur, I just had the mental discipline and determination,” Agarwal said after India’s series-clinching win.

“The technique isn’t going to be the best all the time, it won’t guarantee runs, but the will to fight is key.”

The 30-year-old batter said he was not really thinking of a century in each innings, but should have converted the 60 into a three-figure score.

“It will be a different challenge in South Africa, we will relish as a team. We’re looking forward to that.”

Agarwal, who was out for 13 and 17 in the first Test in Kanpur, said Dravid had told him not to change his technique.

“Rahul bhai told me there’s no point thinking about technique mid-series. ‘This is the technique that has got you runs, have a solid mindset, stick to your game plans, the runs will come’.”

Regarding the advice given by Gavasakar, he said, “Sunny sir told me to keep my bat low early on, be more side-on and open up my left shoulder… it helped.”

Senior India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said he enjoyed watching Kiwi left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel create history by taking all 10 opposition wickets in the second match but felt it was his “destiny” to come up with the performance.

“It was a wonderful performance by Ajaz. It doesn’t spin all the time in Wankhede, and he used the seam and put the ball in the right places. I enjoyed watching him bowl. It was destiny, said Ashwin, who was named the Player of the Series for taking 14 wickets in the two Tests.

“I think I’ve got 10 (Player of the Series awards now). I enjoyed Wankhede honestly, and everyday there was something new, and I could challenge both edges.”

“I would look to play a part in South Africa and finish off with a series win. We haven’t done that before, and hopefully we can do it this time.”

Talking about his spin colleague Jayant Yadav, who took five wickets in the second Test here, Ashwin said, “We have trained together, he flew to Chennai from Haryana in 2014 to pick my mind, so we have a good relation.”

“Axar, I’ve been playing for a while at Kings and Delhi Capitals.”

New Zealand must learn from batting debacle, says Latham

New Zealand had very little left to salvage from the second test after getting bowled for 62 in their first innings at the Wankhede Stadium but stand-in skipper Tom Latham hoped there were lessons to be learned for the young players in the team.

The top-ranked test side folded in a little over three days on a spin-friendly track to lose by 372 runs, their biggest defeat by runs, eclipsing the 358-run thumping against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2007.

“One of those things in cricket where everything you do doesn’t tend to work,” Latham, who led the side in the absence of the injured Kane Williamson, told reporters. “One of those days that happens in cricket.

“We have done that to teams at different times around the world. Unfortunately it was our time and things didn’t quite unfold the way we would have wanted. From our point of view, you have to take a lot of learnings from it.

“The way we were able to come in the second innings and guys sort of change their gameplans a little bit and put a little bit more pressure on the bowlers (but) as we know in India, the longer you go, the harder it gets to bat.”

There were, however, bright moments for the touring side from the likes of left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, who became the third bowler to take 10 wickets in an innings, batter Will Young and all-rounder Rachin Ravindra.

“Those three guys you mentioned, their first time in this part of the world, for them to step up at different times for us, and to make contributions throughout the series was outstanding,” said Latham.

“It is great for the depth of New Zealand cricket to have more exposure in these conditions. The more you play in this part of the world, the more you sort of learn and are able to grow your game.

“Obviously, pleasing for those guys but also for everyone else there are learnings to take. So that the next time we are here, those learnings will be put to practice.”

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