India domestic news December 3, 2011

Agarkar pulls out of Mumbai squad

Ajit Agarkar, the Mumbai seamer, has not been named in Mumbai's squad for the Ranji Trophy Elite group match against Saurashtra that begins in Rajkot from December 6, after he declared himself unavailable for the game. According to Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) secretary Nitin Dalal, Agarkar had submitted a letter addressed to him and Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI chief administrative officer and MCA vice-president, stating his unavailability.

"He [Agarkar] has given it in writing, making himself unavailable for the Ranji Trophy match against Saurashtra," Dalal told ESPNcricinfo. Agarkar did not provide any specific reasons for his unavailability, but it is understood that he was reluctant to play following his abrupt departure from Cuttack on November 29, after being left out of Mumbai's playing XI.

Agarkar had said earlier that he had left soon after the match began because he was disappointed at not being informed beforehand of his exclusion, and that he did not find any reason to sit sulking in the dressing-room.

He found support from his team-mate and India fast bowler Zaheer Khan, who said Sulakshan Kulkarni, Mumbai's coach, and Milind Rege, the chairman of the selection committee, could have handled the situation better and criticised them for "pulling back Mumbai's cricket". Rege subsequently questioned Zaheer's remarks, but there has been no official action against Agarkar or Zaheer for their public outbursts so far.

Zaheer, who bowled 22 overs in Cuttack on his return to competitive cricket after an ankle surgery, has been included in the 15-member squad against Saurashtra. Zaheer was provisionally selected for India's tour of Australia, the condition being he prove his fitness in the Ranji Trophy first. Sushant Marathe, who is yet to play a match this season, has found a berth in the 15-man squad as well.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo