Ajit Agarkar: The poor man’s Kapil Dev

Author : Abhay Patade

Agarkar celebrates the wicket of Arnold

This article is written out of respect to the 5 good deliveries Ajit Agarkar bowled in an over. Not to the godawful 6th one that got smacked for the boundary.

For a certain period of time, everybody thought that you were the result of the decade-long search for Kapil Dev’s replacement. A nice round arm action, good batting and an extremely efficient fielder. What else did Indian cricket yearn for? CONSISTENCY. You, sir, are the perfect example for the Murphy’s Law that is “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”.

People remember you for all the wrong reasons - All the time.

What they saw was your poor economy rate (5.07) but they didn’t see that you were arguably India’s best bowler in the death overs. Wickets

What they saw was that you leaked many runs in the initial overs but they never saw that you took quick wickets for the team. 50 wickets in 23 matches, 100 wickets in 67 matches and overall 288 wickets in 191 matches. Third highest for India. That was quite a feat!  - Gilchrist owned

What they saw was you get smacked all over the ground but they never noticed you bowling some brute unplayable deliveries. - Kallis owned.

What they saw was a tiny frail bowler who seemed inert but they never saw the speed gun clocking 140+ kmph frequently. You could bowl bouncers, meanest of them all. Ask Steve Waugh or Kevin Pietersen.  - Agarkar bouncer to Steve Waugh Agarkar Bouncer

What they saw is poor bowling statistics in Test Matches but they never noticed you winning the test match for India in Adelaide 2003. That match was touted as Rahul Dravid‘s moment of tears and glory but no one spared a thought for the man who was at the non-striker end while Dravid scored the most famous boundary of his life. The match would have ended in a draw had it not been your six wicket fiery spell. –  6-42 at Adelaide in 2004

What they saw is a man who could not score a single run in seven innings, but no one noticed you scoring 109* at the Lord’s. Even Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Jacques Kallis and Ricky Ponting have not managed this feat.  - 109* at Lord’s

What they saw is a bowling all-rounder who failed them by not scoring some quick runs but they never saw you blitz off to that 50 in 21 balls taking India to a famous victory in the Coca Cola Championship against Sri Lanka. They even didnt notice that you were the fastest to reach 200 wickets and reach 1000 runs.  - Ajit Agarkar Coca Cola Cup 1998

And fielding, well Indian cricket fans never noticed anyone’s fielding skills. The flat throws from the boundary just on the top of the stumps. Aah, the bliss. Sadly no one registered them.

As you retire, Ajit, you may look at your career with mixed emotions. There are some great awe-inspiring moments in the decade-long career of yours. Just like the five wicket aggressive spell against Karnataka in the record 40th Ranji Trophy final victory. A thrilling 5 for 81 as Karnataka, chasing a target of 338, were bowled out for 331 in the post-lunch session of the fourth day’s play.

 

And the irony is that hardly anyone noticed it.

 

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