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Left out of playing XI,Agarkar returns home

Left out of Mumbai’s Ranji team for the first time in almost a decade,Ajit Agarkar decided to stage a walk out,and fly back home.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai |
November 30, 2011 12:09:48 am

Left out of Mumbai’s Ranji team for the first time in almost a decade,Ajit Agarkar decided to stage a walk out,and fly back home. The veteran pacer,who only returned from injury a match earlier,was dropped from the final XI for the match against Orissa at Cuttack,with Aavishkar Salvi preferred over him.

And rather than stay back for drinks duty,the ‘humiliated’ Agarkar abandoned ship,but not before requesting the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) for their approval. Strangely,chairman of the MCA’s selection committee,Milind Rege,obliged Agarkar’s unprecedented request.

“It felt humiliating to be left out like this and I got upset. If they did not want me to play then they should have told me in Mumbai itself. I could have avoided flying to Cuttack,” Agarkar told The Indian Express.

The match was billed as Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan’s return to the Mumbai team as part of his rehabilitation from injury. Forced to leave out one of their regular fast bowlers to accommodate Zaheer,the Mumbai selectors chose to go with Salvi,leaving Agarkar on the bench — with Dhawal Kulkarni as the other pacer.

A veteran of 103 first-class matches,which includes 26 Test matches for India,and 191 ODIs,Agarkar has been the spearhead of the Mumbai bowling attack for a major part of the last decade. And according to Rege,the MCA had little choice but to allow Agarkar to return home.

“He is an experienced player and we all know what he has done for Mumbai. Sitting here in Mumbai,it will be difficult to say what transpired exactly during the team meeting and what was the idea behind not picking Agarkar. We don’t want to disturb the team at the moment and we will hear from the coach and captain once the match gets over,” said Rege.

Agarkar,who played his first match of the season against Karnataka last week,said that the team management’s reason to leave him out was that Salvi had been in good form. But he insisted it wasn’t fair for the selectors to judge his form based on one performance.

With Zaheer expected to play the next game against Saurashtra at Rajkot,it remains to be seen whether Agarkar will turn up. “They have dropped me,so that means they don’t need me. I don’t know whether I will play or not. At the moment I’m enjoying with my son,” he said.

Pawar leads visitors’ charge

Meanwhile,opener Kaustabh Pawar struck an unbeaten 122 as Mumbai reached 311 for three against Orissa in their fourth round match on Tuesday. The 21-year-old hit 17 boundaries in his unbeaten 261 ball knock after Mumbai won the toss.

The visitors’ start was far from solid,losing opener Akhil Herwadkar (11) early,with the scoreboard reading 20. Pawar was then joined by experienced Abhishek Nayar (71) and the duo put on 123 runs for the second wicket before Dhiraj Singh dismissed Nayar,caught by wicketkeeper Halhadar Das.

Pawar put up a 57 run partnership for the third wicket with skipper Wasim Jaffer (35) before Biplab Samantray removed him,caught behind by Das. Pawar and Suryakumar Yadav (69 not out) then held fort,sharing an unbeaten stand of 111 for the fourth wicket to give a solid platform to the Mumbai innings.

Brief scores: Mumbai 311/3 (Kaustabh Pawar batting 122,Abhishek Nayar 71; Biplab Samantray 1/40,Dhiraj Singh 1/52)

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