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Ajit Agarkar liked to stick it to the Aussies
Interview by Nagraj Gollapudi
January 27, 2013
First time I sent the stumps flying
I did not send the stumps flying exactly, but the first time I hit the timber was Zimbabwe's Andy Whittall's stump, with an inswinging yorker in my second ODI, in Vadodara. Zimbabwe were cruising at one point and we bounced back in a close match.
The fastest to 50 ODI wickets, in my first season, in 1998. At the time I was not aware it was a record. I only knew I had got to 50 wickets. I was 20 then and I was just excited and keen to play as much as I could. Someone soon told me that I had broken Dennis Lillee's long-standing record of 18 years - I took one match less than him to reach the landmark. My record did not stand for long, though. Ajantha Mendis broke it in 2009.
First batsman to leave me speechless
Adam Gilchrist. Our first face-off took place during my debut ODI, in the Pepsi tri-series, in Kochi. Everyone was talking about the Waugh brothers but Gilchrist exploded onto the scene and caught everyone by surprise. He was my first wicket, but by the time he left he had smashed us into submission. It came as a shock, even though India went on to win the match. Back then we played with the red ball and I tried to swing the ball both ways. Gilly always cut and pulled off his legs well but the cover drives he played to my best deliveries with the new ball were a completely new experience for me.
First time I drew blood
The closest I have come was spoiling Steve Waugh's farewell Test series, when I hit him on the elbow at the MCG in 2003. He had entered to massive applause and straightaway I tried to bounce him. The ball did not quite rise but Waugh had ducked in defence. It hit him flush on the elbow.
My very first bat was a Kashmir willow, which I bought at Nadkarni Sports, a store near Metro theatre in Mumbai, for Rs 190. My first English willow was the Sunny Tonny, a popular brand from when I was growing up. It was chosen by Ramakant Achrekar, my first coach. It cost me Rs 600, which was a lot of money.
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