Robin Uthappa has revealed that Mayank Agarwal was battling form and was on the verge of being dropped by his domestic side Karnataka from a Ranji Trophy game before captain R Vinay Kumar put a hand around the struggling batsman’s shoulder, triggering a turnaround.

Following that motivational talk, Agarwal went on to score a maiden first-class triple century and from thereon, he hasn’t looked back. “I remember we contemplated dropping him from a Ranji game but when (captain) R Vinay Kumar gave him a push (motivational words), he scored a triple hundred and did not look back from there,” Uthappa, a former Karnataka teammate of Agarwal said on Thursday.

Continuing his rise, Agarwal, who made his India Test debut on Australian tour, recorded a maiden century on Thursday in the ongoing first Test against South Africa in Vizag. And then became only the fourth batsman from India to convert maiden century into a double.

He was eventually dislodged on 215 with the hosts declaring their first innings on 502/7. He will only get better with more opportunities. This will give him a lot of confidence,” Uthappa said.

Before Agarwal stole the limelight, Rohit Sharma also scored a century – in his first innings as a Test opener. He scored 176 off 244 before being dismissed on the second day. Uthappa said the Mumbai batsman has figured out how to open the batting in Tests as well.

“He (Rohit) has always done well in India and abroad. In white ball cricket, he dominates the scene right now. He is arguably one of the best batsman in the world. He has reached a point in his career where he understands his batting really well and knows what works for him. Given that situation, he must be going through a huge surge in confidence. I think he has figured out opening the batting and this opportunity came at the right moment for Rohit to capitalise on it. So it’s not a surprise that he is successful,” Uthappa said.

Virender Sehwag also excelled after being promoted as opening batsman in red-ball cricket. But Uthappa feels it’s not right to compare the two because of their different batting styles. “Viru pa would demolish the ball while Rohit caresses it. The way they go about dealing with bowlers is vastly different but the aggressive nature is the common factor,” he said.