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As Ajit Agarkar Turns 44, a Look at Some of His Milestones

Six years after his debut, Agarkar bowled the best spell of his career in 2004 at MCG when he bagged six wickets while giving away 42 runs.  (Image: Instagram)

Six years after his debut, Agarkar bowled the best spell of his career in 2004 at MCG when he bagged six wickets while giving away 42 runs. (Image: Instagram)

During the later stage of his career, Ajit Agarkar turned into a one-day specialist and was India’s best bowler during the 2005-06 season.

Ajit Agarkar made his international debut in 1998, four years after India’s 1993 World Cup-winning skipper Kapil Dev bid adieu to the game of fame. He was considered as Men in Blue’s answer for a fast-bowling all-rounder. Agarkar had all the ingredients he needed to become the country’s next pace-bowling all-round sensation – a genuine match-winner with the ball and a handy lower-order batter – but he was never able to form a long-lasting mix between his batting and bowling performance.

Agarkar’s entry into international cricket was like an avalanche as he went on to become then the quickest bowler to take fifty wickets in ODIs. While he broke one after another record during the said time with the ball, his batting career took a slump as he was dismissed for seven consecutive Test ducks against Australia.

But, he was not a tailender, as it was not possible for tailenders to smash 21-ball fifty in the one-dayers as he did so in 2000 against Zimbabwe. Two years later, Agarkar again showed his batting prowess by smashing a breath-taking hundred against England at the iconic Lord’s stadium against the likes of Andrew Flintoff, Matthew James Hoggard and Ashley Fraser Giles.

During the later stage of his career, Agarkar turned into a one-day specialist and was India’s best bowler during the 2005-06 season. However, a disappointing World Cup performance led to his axing from India’s squad.

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He finished his career as India’s third high-wicket taker in the one-dayers with 288 scalps in his kitty from 191 games. He is only behind Anil Kumble (334 wickets) and Javagal Srinath (315 wickets). He was also the fastest player to score 1000 runs and bag 200 wickets in ODIs in terms of the number of games played.

After a successful domestic season, Agarkar was called in India’s squad during their tri-series against Australia in 1998 and made an instant impact. He finished the tri-series as the highest wicket-taker of the tournament. He was also part of India’s 1998 World Cup squad but did not feature in every game as his form took a dip.

Six years after his debut, Agarkar bowled the best spell of his career in 2004 at MCG when he bagged six wickets while giving away 42 runs. However, his heroics went in vain as India lost the said ODI match to Australia. A year later, he once again turned the clock by taking a five-wicket haul against Sri Lanka in Pune ODI.

Agarkar’s best performance with the bat in one-dayers came in 2002 when he smashed 95 runs against West Indies while batting at number 3.

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first published:December 04, 2021, 07:10 IST