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Ajit Agarkar

Smashing Lillee's record and Waugh's elbow

Ajit Agarkar liked to stick it to the Aussies

Interview by Nagraj Gollapudi

January 27, 2013

Comments: 18 | Text size: A | A

Ajit Agarkar successfully appeals for the wicket of Mark Waugh, Australia v India, 2nd Test, MCG, 1st day, December 26, 1999
Ajit Agarkar: nearly spoiled Steve Waugh's farewell series © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Ajit Agarkar | Adam Gilchrist | Steve Waugh
Teams: India

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.

First record
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.

First bat
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.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by here2rock on (January 29, 2013, 0:35 GMT)

His current form is still good, perhaps bring him back into the Test Side.

Posted by Arun14 on (January 28, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

Stick to the Aussies how? By scoring 5 consecutive ducks against them? If I didn't see Agarkar's picture, I'd have thought you were talking about VVS Laxman !!

Posted by mdiggity on (January 28, 2013, 13:56 GMT)

It's definitely Mark Waugh. Mark was sponsored by Slazenger and Steve was sponsored by GM and MRF and that is clearly a V800, which was my very first bat!

Posted by pandez on (January 28, 2013, 11:18 GMT)

cricket_lover1969 can u say how can a individual in a team sport be responsible for loosing.. and since you have mentioned in your comment "he even got a test hundred at Lords if i remember correctly" you don't know anything about him and his achievements, so better clear yourself by checking the stats. You are fully intitled to critisize if you follow a certain cricketer and if you don't follow you can't .......

Posted by Spivi on (January 28, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

The article's title is somewhat misleading - smashing lillees record......etc - makes him seem him like some menace whose reign of terror was boundless. Yes he took a great deal of One day wickets but he hardly obliterated Lillee's record and as to him smashing Waugh's elbow - this was hardly representative of anything. please lets remember in the most important form of the game his record was not great.

Posted by crafty-Rabbi on (January 28, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

MJcoxx, I think you are right the photo above definitely looks more like Mark than his identical twin brother Steve.

Posted by nareshgb1 on (January 27, 2013, 19:10 GMT)

Thanks for getting Ajit's piece here. much maligned cricketer - but if you check the numbers, he's proibably better than a few others who dont get half the flak he does. Always a good batsman to watch too and very neat in the field.

Posted by Vivek.Bhandari on (January 27, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

Posted by mjcoxx on (January 27 2013, 13:24 PM GMT):

Good observation. That indeed is Mark Waugh from the 1999-200 series, in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

About Agarkar, yes he was the last brilliant outfielder (bowler) after Kapil Dev. Few would remember how he ran out Gavin Rennie in a Delhi Test by a left-hand underarm throw. And how effortlessly he used to catch high catches at the boundary.

Posted by pandez on (January 27, 2013, 18:16 GMT)

sixnout ...for your kind information without playing for the country since 4 to 5 years he has a better record than Zaheer in odis and as far as test cricket is concerned he has won the adelede test if you remember which no one of the earlier bowlers have done...so dont always say what he could have done other wise respect what he has achieved during his 10 years long career....PLZ CHECK THE STATS....

Posted by sixnout on (January 27, 2013, 18:00 GMT)

Ajit Agarkar... One in the long list of "what could have been if" bowlers for India. A bowler who could swing the ball both ways at a skiddy pace. An outfielder who could rifle decent throws from the boundary. A batsman who could add a good 15 to 20 runs a innings. While he would never have been a world beater on a consistent basis, he might have been a handy bowler like zaheer had he managed to maintain consistency in his bowling

Posted by Sumeet.Gupta on (January 27, 2013, 15:04 GMT)

Ajit Agarkar......what a "could have been" that India had!!

Posted by mjcoxx on (January 27, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

Were there no pictures of Ajit Agarkar hitting Steve Waugh available? That's Mark Waugh in the photo above.

Posted by analyseabhishek on (January 27, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

If only this man could have pulled up the sum of all his parts all together! A brisk, slippery swing bowler, a handy bat good enough to score the national fastest fifty in ODIs and be on Lord's honour board and the last Indian bowler to be a decent outfielder!

Posted by pandez on (January 27, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

ajit agarkar always had a great record against australia, thats why he was liked by most of the aussies. those who point fingers on ajit, like to mention them one thing that things which he has achivd, will be hard to take over by any of the young bowlers in the mean time. he is most recognized indian bowler through out the world then any body else, and this must be due to some reason. hope you had achieved some more feat, however the amount you did is no lesser too. all the best to one of the most gifted cricketer. lets see how many of the present ones take 288 wickets with his strike rate. stil going strong which was expressed by his performance on 145 in semi finals of ranji trophy.

Posted by Cricket_equals_Sachin on (January 27, 2013, 7:49 GMT)

i liked ajit in his earlier days but after a time his economy become bad and thats the main reason , he hasn't considered again in team .

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