Cricketer Mayank Agarwal is a riot to watch on the pitch; his skill and talent left an indelible mark on the glorious history of the sport in India. But the skipper’s ace has a penchant for one thing when he’s not on the pitch: travelling. We caught up with him to learn more about this passion for exploration he shares with his wife, Aashita Sood Agarwal.
Tell us a bit about your hometown
I was born and raised in Bangalore which I think is a beautiful place. This is ideal in terms of weather; there are cafes, pubs and plenty of opportunities to simply explore the city. One can also head to Mysore and Coorg for a vacation and these places are quite close to the city. I trained here early in my career and am currently training at the RXCA Cricket Academy. My wife is also from Bangalore (laughs). That’s why I think Bengaluru is a great place.
How was the pandemic for you?
It was hard; everything was closed and we couldn’t get out. But we made peace with him very early. We thought of it as time we could spend together. I don’t spend much time at home, so I could be with my family. My wife and I could do hobbies like gardening together. The pandemic allowed me to take a break from sports and do things that I couldn’t really do because of the constant travel.
Did cricket help you discover your love for travel?
While I travel a lot because of the format of the sport, my parents had, from our childhood, ensured that we took family holidays. I was very young and vaguely remember going to Canada and the United States; that’s when i knew i loved seeing new places. I thank my parents for the drive I have when it comes to exploring different destinations.
A place you would recommend to a travel addict
There are many choices! New Zealand tops the list when it comes to international destinations. It’s very quiet, there’s greenery and the best part is that the country offers a myriad of adventure sports to keep you hooked.
Do you explore the city you are in on a tour?
My wife Aashita and I like to explore a new place; we try to experience the authentic culture of where we are and even live like locals. We don’t just go to the big and famous spots. I remember, in Turkey, we made it a point to visit the little spice markets, to have authentic Turkish nights with local cuisine. It’s something we like to do together.
Your best travel memory with Aashita
It must be Oia. Oia is a small coastal village in Santorini. For us, Greece was surreal.
I am more adventurous while Aashita is more laid back as a traveler. But we have found our middle way; we usually try to consolidate all our exploration plans during the first half of the vacation. Most activities are scheduled early, then during the second half of the vacation we relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Favorite cricket ground
Melbourne, Australia. I made my test debut there and I have many good memories playing on this ground.
What’s the one thing you pack but never use?
I think it’s a typical Indian thing to do, but my wife and I tend to pack way too much clothes. Even for a short vacation! So we usually come back without having used them all (laughs).
What’s the next destination on your list?
In 2020, before the pandemic, we planned to go to Italy. This will be our next destination. My wife wants to go on a cruise, so that’s on our to-do list too.