Mayank Agarwal revealed how the advise he received from Sunil Gavaskar and Indian head coach Rahul Dravid has helped him play a big innings in the second Test against New Zealand on Friday. Agarwal remained unbeaten on 120 at the Wankhede as India finished at 221/4 by the end of day one's play.
The 30-year old was realistic about his playing time with KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma heavily favored to be the opening pair.
"When I was picked, Rahul bhai spoke to me. He asked me to control what is in my hands and said, 'go out there and give it your best'," Agarwal said at the end of the day's play.
"He had told me 'When you get set, make it big'. I am happy to have capitalised on the start that I had. But that message was very clear from Rahul bhai, that I should make it count," he added.
The Karnataka opener rued the unfortunate blow he suffered to his head during practice which ruled him out of the series against England.
"It was unfortunate for me to not have played in England, I got hit and there's nothing much I could do about that. I accepted it and continued to work hard and work on my process and my game."
Agarwal explained how he took the suggestion made by Gavaskar about his back lift and shoulder position to be able to play the ball better.
"He told me that I should consider keeping the bat a bit low initially in my innings. I have a tendency to hold it high. I couldn't make that adjustment in this short period of time. When he was saying, I noticed his shoulder position and basically picked up that I need to be more side on."
The opener was watchful against Ajaz Patel who claimed all four wickets on the day, but went after the left-armer when there was an opportunity which fetched him four sixes.
"He was bowling exceedingly well. But each time anything was in our half (our arc), the plan was to be a bit more attacking. Anything that came a little towards us in length, we were going to go for it.
"He had that phase when he tied us down, so it was a conscious decision to make it count when we could or each time he bowled it in our spot," he explained.
Agarwal felt that the first session of day two will be crucial for India to be post a commendable first innings total.
"How we start is crucial, the focus is that. The first session we want to play it out, the wicket is going to get harder and harder to bat on."