ESPNcricinfo Match Point Analyst
Ajit Bhalchandra Agarkar is an analyst on the ESPNcricinfo Match Point panel.
The 37 year-old is a former right-arm pacer and was seen by many Indian fans as the successor to the all-time great, Kapil Dev. He represented India in 26 Tests but is most renowned for his 191 ODIs, which saw him become the third highest Indian wicket-taker in this format of the game with 288 scalps.
Agarkar made his ODI debut against Australia at Kochi, on 1 April 1998, announcing his entry to the world stage with the prized wicket of Adam Gilchrist. Soon after his debut, a 20-year old Agarkar achieved his first Man-of-the-Match award in a Coca-Cola Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka–taking three crucial wickets which saw the opposition collapse for just 98 all out. By the time he had played 23 matches, Agarkar was a record-breaker–becoming the fastest player to reach 50 ODI wickets, a record he held until 2009. His best haul in a Test was 6/41 in 2003 against Australia in Adelaide and his most prolific ODI performance also came against the same opposition in Melbourne, 2004, with figures of 6/42. He represented Mumbai domestically as well as Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils in the late 2000s before returning to Mumbai to captain them to the 40th Ranji Trophy title in 2012/13, just prior to retiring from the game.
Agarkar also made some telling international contributions with the bat–notably in 2000, scoring a half-century against Zimbabwe off just 21 balls, which remains the fastest 50 scored by an Indian cricketer in an ODI. Another memorable knock came in an ODI against the West Indies when he made a polished 95 batting at number 3 which completed a stellar 2002 for him as he also smacked a Test century against England at Lord’s, batting at number 8. His all-round contribution is further aptly illustrated by another ODI record he still holds, which is the quickest to take 200 wickets and complete 1000 runs. He achieved this feat in 133 matches, breaking ex-South African skipper, Shaun Pollock’s record of 138 games.