Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar   Ajit Agarkar   Ajit Agarkar

Ajit Agarkar is a name that brings mixed emotions to the ardent follower of Indian cricket. Here is a young fast bowler with so much of promise in him, making one hope and wish if only he lived up to it. Agarkar had lost a lot of goodwill over the last two years thanks to his infamous run of ducks against Australia and a lacklustre show with the ball.

The young medium pacer from Mumbai has had the confidence and faith of a few powerful men in Indian cricket. Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar have always backed Agarkar to the hilt. The patience of the public and the selectors saw its limit after he enjoyed being a 'good tourist' in Sri Lanka thanks to a bad viral fever and alleged sunstroke. Things couldn't have got worse for Agarkar, the axe fell, and selectors dumped him from the squad to tour South Africa.

Agarkar took off for Kenya with the Mumbai team, trying to regain his lost rhythm and confidence. As luck would have it, two of the leading pace bowlers the selectors had picked for the ODI tri-series, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra had to stay back to recover from their respective injuries. It wasn't a toss of the coin, the selectors asked Debasis Mohanty and Agarkar to rush to Mumbai for the fitness test. The Indian skipper would have none other than Agarkar in the squad; Ganguly is renowned for his nature of backing the players who fit in his plans.

Make no mistake, Agarkar knows it too well that this tour of South Africa is going to be a do or die one for him. Eyebrows were still raised, people were thinking aloud whether Agarkar has woken up to the realities?

India played its first game in the tri-series against South Africa on October 5 at the New Wanderers. Agarkar impressed the legendary South African fast bowler Allan Donald, and in his column in CricInfo, 'White Lightning', wrote, "The guy who could do well in South Africa, though, is Ajit Agarkar. There's not very much of him, but he's deceptively quick, quicker than you might think. He's a skiddy type of bowler, but he comes onto the bat hard and he was the one guy who made Gary hurry his shots every now and again."

So far India has played in five matches, having won a match against South Africa and Kenya and are in a tricky situation, nothing short than a win against the Kenyans on Wednesday will take them to the final. It is a testimony to Agarkar's will to do well in this tour that he is on top of the list of the Indian bowlers with eight wickets at an average of 27.20. In the first match against the Proteas, he was the best of the Indian bowlers, generating a lot of pace.

The second match against South Africa saw Agarkar bowl with a lot of fire to pick 2/40 and a match winning catch to dismiss Mark Boucher. He destroyed the Kenyans with a fiery spell to finish with 10-2-27-4 at the Goodyear Park in Bloemfontein and won the Man of the Match award. After being rested at Port Elizabeth in the shameful loss against Kenya, Agarkar's return to the side against the Proteas at Buffalo Park was not too exciting.

In South Africa though he has shown a lot of resolve and has had success; reasons why Ajit Agarkar is our Indian Player of the fortnight.

Inside Stuff

Ajit Agarkar's World Record... [More]

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Agarkar is good for the one-day game...says Partab Ramchand [More]


Breaking Kapil Dev's record... [Scorecard | Match Reports]

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