It was a rainy, grey, dull but not dreary morning in Christchurch. The most interesting activity on the green for the longest time was a family of ducks waddling on the grass and chilling in puddles.
India’s Under-19 team were scheduled to play a match at the Hagley Oval, which was then just a roped off cricket ground in the middle of a leafy park, not the cricket stadium and facility it is today.
For the longest time it looked like there was no chance of a game. When the game got under way it was reduced to 34 overs per team and Hong Kong didn’t last the distance, being bowled out for 133.
India knocked off the runs in only 24 overs, one KL Rahul being not out 62 and a certain Mayank Agarwal making 63.
The most eye-catching bit about Rahul’s batting was the manner in which he scored through the off side, without so much as taking a chance or throwing his bat. Hitting cleanly through the line, and once crisply over the field for six, Rahul showed off his innate technique and shape while still ripping into the bowling.
The fun thing about Mayank was the energy he brought to the crease. He definitely looked the finished product even at Under-19 level, always ready to pounce on the loose ball and hitting with a confidence we had only seen in Virender Sehwag. India’s most recent Test double-centurion may have taken the long route to get there, but there was no shortage of talent or intent even when he was a teenager.