Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar and his personal coach Irfan Sait are among those who feel that “there is a little bit of Sehwag” in Agarwal, who drew the flattering comparison with his aggressive style of play.
Drafted into the squad in the middle of a well-poised series, the 27-year-old rose to the occasion with a 77, 76 and 42 in Melbourne and Sydney, playing a crucial hand in India’s maiden Test series triumph Down Under.
“Honestly, I am not a fan of comparisons but he is one of the greats of Indian cricket. I just like to go in the middle, give my best and see what comes out of it. Having said that, if I could do even half of what he (Sehwag) did, I will be happy, the Karnataka batsman said.
He did not have a sponsor’s logo on his bat throughout his three innings in Australia but after his exploits, hopes to get one soon.
Agarwal had replaced the injured Prithvi Shaw in the squad and with K L Rahul and Murali Vijay dropped from the side after failing in the opening two Tests, facing the likes of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc was as tough a challenge as he could face in his debut innings on Boxing Day.
“Definitely, it was (special), to make my debut at the MCG and most importantly, to win the Test series in Australia.
We became the first team from the sub-continent to win a series in Australia. There can’t be a better start than this,” said Agarwal, who finally got his opportunity after being on the fringes for a long time.
Agarwal saw off the new ball with Hanuma Vihari on day one of the third Test before ending with an impressive 76 off 161 balls.
Asked about his mind-set going into the Melbourne game, Agarwal said, “I was very excited that I have been called to represent India in Australia in a well poised series.
My thought was I want to be a part of the action than sit out. When I got the call from the selectors, I was very excited. It is a big moment for any cricketer, more so if you do that in MCG on Boxing Day.”
Agarwal said the A tour of New Zealand that coincided with the Australia series also helped him in his accidental debut.
“I went there with a plan and I am glad it came off for a bit. Australia was a top-class bowling unit. It plays its cricket hard and brings out the best in you. You can’t pick out a bowler. Everyone was good and you have to be on top of your game to face them.
“Playing in New Zealand did help a lot. It was a tremendous learning experience. The conditions weren’t same but similar to Australia.
There was a lot of pace in the wickets and New Zealand A had international bowlers in their line-up. So, it was good that I got to play there before the Australia series.”