Ajay Kumar Sharma
April 03, 1964, Delhi
Right hand Bat
Slow Left arm Orthodox
Middle order Batter
Ajay Sharma's career will be seen as one of disappointment. Firstly, that a man whose first-class average was the third-highest of any player to have scored 10,000 runs only played one Test; secondly, that his career ended when he was implicated in the match-fixing scandal which rocked world cricket, receiving a life ban.
His Test debut in 1987-88 was Hirwani's match, although his 30 and 23 gave every indication that he was a batsman to watch. But despite outstanding performances on the domestic circuit, another chance never came. He played 31 ODIs - for some reason becoming pigeonholed as a one-day specialist - with his left-arm spin earmarking him as an allrounder.
His last ODI was in 1993-94, when he was still not 30, but he continued to murder bowlers for Delhi. In 1999-2000 he became the Ranji Trophy's highest runscorer, and his 31 hundreds was also a record. In 1996-97 he had become only the third batsman to score 1000 runs in a Ranji Trophy season.
But in 2000, aged 36, he was banned for life after being found guilty of having associations with bookmakers. It was the final blow from an establishment that Sharma had always seemed to be at odds with. Martin Williamson
Batting & Fielding