Ahead of IPL 2023, Sunrisers Hyderabad opening batter Mayank Agarwal heaped praise on skipper Aiden Markram, calling him a genuinely great guy who has a very happy and relaxed vibe around him.
The 28-year old Markram will be captaining Hyderabad in IPL 2023 and replaces Kane Williamson, who was released by the side last year. Markram was recently made South Africa's new T20I captain and led Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the inaugural SA20 title earlier this year.
"He is a great guy. Apart from being a fantastic cricketer, he is a great guy. So that tells you a lot about him. I call him the machine, and that's for a reason.
Somebody who works really, really hard on his game, who really thinks a lot about his game, and who is genuinely a great guy, and who has a very happy and relaxed vibe around him," said Agarwal in a video posted by the franchise on Youtube.
I'm really looking forward to playing under him because we had a bond when we played for Punjab. I'm really looking forward to building on that when we play now for SRH," he added.
Agarwal had captained Punjab Kings in IPL 2022, but his poor form with the bat and the side unable to reach the playoffs meant he was released by the franchise, before Hyderabad roped him in at the mini-auction in Kochi.
In the video, the right-handed batter recalled his Test debut for India against Australia in the Boxing Day Test in 2018. In the match, Agarwal slammed knocks of 76 and 42 as India won by 137 runs.
"Simply put, in a few words I felt like I said that before. I think that it was about 80-odd thousand people on the first day and we batted first. I just felt like a gladiator in between there.
The massive stadium with so much history. The series on the line. It was 1-1," the right-hander batter said. "I was very happy and got right into the action. I really enjoyed it. I know the heartbeat was like real fast, but once I played a couple of overs, I really got into it.
Then I got into the rhythm and once I got into the rhythm, it just kept flowing," he added. As of now, Agarwal has played 21 Tests for India averaging 41.33 with four centuries and six half centuries against his name.
He also recounted the feeling of being part of the Indian Test team which won Test tours of Australia in 2018-19 and 2020-21. "I think it's an amazing place to play cricket. The kind of intensity with which they play, how hard they play cricket, is something that I admire.
So, when we were there, and when we won there, that feeling is indescribable. Like, I cannot express like..a lot of people and a lot of players, a lot of countries have gone there and played some really good cricket and for us to go there and win it twice in two tours now," he said.
"Being a part of both two tours is a phenomenal feeling. It's just not so much happiness, you feel really proud that you've contributed to the historic moments in Indian cricket in whichever way.
But just the feeling of having contributed to India winning in Australia is just a phenomenal feeling," he concluded. Sunrisers Hyderabad will begin their IPL 2023 campaign against Rajasthan Royals on April 2 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.