India opener Mayank Agarwal has been playing cricket for as long as he can remember and the ongoing break enforced by the coronavirus pandemic has taught him the importance of pursuing other interests.

“When the lockdown was imposed, for a brief while I felt like I wasn’t an asset anymore,” Agarwal told The Times of India. “It was like my contribution went from something to nothing. Suddenly I needed to do something apart from my sport which would help me add value at home and at the same time upgrade myself.”

While he has been reading, doing daily household chores and meditation to cope up with the ‘free time’, the phase has also taught him to be more grateful.

“It’s made me even more grateful for what I have and whatever we have been blessed with,” he said. “I feel fortunate for the three meals that I eat. I think as a sportsman we’re blessed to have the opportunity to go out and play a sport. This phase has made me count my blessings more.”

Since his Test debut in December 2018, Agarwal has played 11 Tests and scored 974 runs at a sublime average of 57.29 alongside three centuries and four half-centuries. In February this year, he also made also went on to make his ODI debut during the tour of New Zealand.

“As a kid, I dreamt of playing for India and I told myself, I’ll do everything I can to get there. Be very clear in your mind on what you want to achieve and then chase your dreams no matter what,” the 29-year-old said.

For Agarwal, both the physical and mental aspects of fitness routine are equally important.

“Fitness for me is not just about working on the physical aspect. It is also a lot of mental discipline because there are times when you are training or working out when you feel like stopping. You just don’t feel like pushing beyond the limits. As sportsmen, we know often the mind gives up before the body. So, having a mindset to be fit helps in breaking that mental indiscipline,” he said.