February 12, 2000

Agarkar regaining fitness, but may miss SA Tests

Indian all-rounder Ajit Agarkar is trying very hard to regain his fitness, according to family sources. He is a regular visitor to the Cricket Club of India gym. ``My grandson (Ajit) has been going to the gymnasium everyday and doing regular exercises to keep himself fit'' his grandmother said in Mumbai on Friday.

However, according to Board sources, he may not be fit enough to play the two Tests against South Africa. ``Ajit has been carrying a hamstring injury and this takes time to recover particularly for a boy with a slim structure,'' said a high level BCCI official. The 24-year old Indian all-rounder may only recover just before the one-day series.

Agarkar had to miss a few matches on the Australian tour due to injury and would have missed a few more, had India entered the finals of the Carlton & United series. The Board took the wise step by resting him for the on-going Challenger Trophy in Ahmedabad.

Agarkar, when contacted at his Worli flat, refused to comment on the subject. He even refused to answer a question whether he would be submitting his fitness certificate to the Board before the selectors meet to chose the Indian team for the first Test against South Africa, commencing in Mumbai on February 24. The selectors are to meet in Mumbai on Feb. 20 to pick the team. ``I can only say I feel better now. I am bound by a two months contract with the Board and hence cannot express my views on the subject unless permission from the BCCI is obtained'' signed off Agarkar.

Agarkar is yet to contact Dr. Anant Joshi, the renowned orthscopic surgeon, whom the Board generally refers in case of a players injury. ``Agarkar has not contacted me so far. It is difficult to predict the recovery period unless he is examined. The recovery period can only be judged after seeing the severity of the injury'' informed Dr Joshi.

The team's physio Andrew Leipus also does not seem to have briefed the doctor on Agarkar's injury. The physio may take up the matter with the doctor on his arrival. Leipus didn't return with the team and went back to his country. He is expected to join the team shortly.