India domestic news November 29, 2011

Agarkar leaves team after being dropped

Ajit Agarkar, the Mumbai fast bowler, has left the team in Cuttack because he was disappointed after being dropped from the XI for the Ranji Trophy match against Orissa. Agarkar was part of Mumbai's 15-man squad, and had played their previous game against Karnataka, but he was told by the captain Wasim Jaffer, coach Sulakshan Kulkarni and selector Ravi Thakkar after a team meeting on Monday that they had decided to pick Aavishkar Salvi ahead of him.

"They did not tell me before going that I am not going to be the part of the XI. I do not expect to not play Ranji Trophy for Mumbai," Agarkar told ESPNcricinfo. Agarkar had missed Mumbai's first two games of the season with a thigh injury and was wicketless in the third-round match against Karnataka at the Brabourne Stadium.

With Zaheer Khan playing against Orissa to prove his fitness for India's tour of Australia, the Mumbai selectors had a choice to make between Agarkar and Salvi.

"My only issue is, if they had decided beforehand in Mumbai, they could have easily told me and I might not have gone to Cuttack," Agarkar said. "For someone who has been around for this long, just telling him the night before the match that he is not in the playing XI is not what you accept."

Once he had decided to return to Mumbai, Agarkar followed protocol and called Nitin Dalal, the Mumbai Cricket Association secretary, requesting permission to return home. "I asked him and the team management to allow me to go. I was feeling very dejected and me sitting there in the dressing room sulking with the young guys around would only add unnecessary pressure."

Agarkar said he was hurt because the selection committee, along with Jaffer and Kulkarni, had known him for a long time and he felt he deserved a call in private. "The captain knows me for the last 20 years, since my school days. The selection committee chairman [Milind Rege] actually got me [a job with] Tatas. Abey Kuruvilla, another selector, has played cricket with me and Sulakshan Kulkarni has played Ranji Trophy with me. Anyone of these people could have told me before the squad left for Cuttack."

Agarkar was not worried about the potential repercussions of his decision. "I am hurt because after one match you are telling me that I have become that bad for Mumbai's Ranji Trophy team then obviously there is something more to it than just cricket."

Salvi had missed Mumbai's previous two matches - against Rajasthan, because he was not well, and against Karnataka, because Mumbai chose to play three spinners - with Agarkar getting selected ahead of him.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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