Ajit Bhalchandra Agarkar, born on December 4, 1977, in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, is a prominent former Indian cricketer, commentator, and the current chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selection committee since July 2022.
Last Updated: October 27, 2023
Ajit Bhalchandra Agarkar, born on December 4, 1977, in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, is a prominent former Indian cricketer, commentator, and the current chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selection committee since July 4, 2023. He is widely regarded as one of India’s greatest fast bowlers and has made significant contributions to Indian cricket in both bowling and batting.
Early Life and Education
Ajit Agarkar was born to Meena and Balachandra Agarkar in Mumbai. He grew up with a passion for cricket, initially focusing on his batting skills. His cricket journey took a significant turn when he was entrusted to renowned coach Ramakant Achrekar, the same coach who had mentored cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. Under Achrekar’s guidance, Agarkar shifted his focus to becoming an all-rounder, emphasizing both his batting and bowling abilities.
Agarkar attended Ruparel College in Matunga, Mumbai, and continued to excel in cricket throughout his formative years. He displayed his talent as a batsman and developed into a formidable all-rounder.
Ajit Agarkar made his debut in One Day Internationals (ODIs) for India on April 1, 1998, against Australia in Kochi. In this debut match, he immediately left an impression by taking the wicket of Adam Gilchrist. His early performances earned him recognition, including a Man of the Match award in a crucial Coca-Cola Champions Trophy match against New Zealand in April 1998, where he took four wickets.
Throughout his international career, Agarkar represented India in over 200 matches across all three formats of the game. He played a vital role in India’s participation in major cricket tournaments, including the 1999 Cricket World Cup, 2003 Cricket World Cup, 2007 World Cup, and the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20, where India emerged as champions. He was also part of the joint-winning team at the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy, sharing the title with Sri Lanka.
In ODIs, Agarkar’s contributions are noteworthy. He is the third-highest wicket-taker for India in ODIs, with 288 wickets in 191 matches at an average of 27.85. He also showcased his batting prowess by scoring 1,269 runs at an average of 14.58, including three half-centuries. Notably, Agarkar holds the record for the fastest fifty by an Indian in ODIs, achieved in just 21 balls during a match against Zimbabwe in 2000.
In Test cricket, Agarkar played 26 matches, taking 58 wickets at an average of 47.32. He also made valuable contributions with the bat, scoring 571 runs, including a memorable century. His Test debut came in 1998 against Zimbabwe, and he played his final Test match in 2006 against Pakistan.
Ajit Agarkar’s domestic career was equally impressive. He represented Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy and played a pivotal role in leading Mumbai to its 40th Ranji Trophy title in 2013. In the Indian Premier League (IPL), he showcased his talents with the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) and the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Post-Retirement Career and Contributions
Following his retirement from cricket, Agarkar embarked on a new career as a cricket analyst and commentator. He provided valuable insights and analysis during various cricket matches and tournaments, sharing his deep understanding of the game with fans and viewers.
Ajit Agarkar was born into a loving family in Mumbai. He is married to Fatima Ghadially, and the couple has a son named Raj. His father, Balachandra Agarkar, had also played cricket at the club level, and his early cricketing education was under the tutelage of the legendary coach Ramakant Achrekar.
Despite his relatively shorter stature compared to other fast bowlers, Agarkar consistently bowled at speeds exceeding 90 mph (~142–150 km/hr) and maintained a fair economy rate of 5.07 in ODIs.
Records and Achievements
Ajit Agarkar’s cricketing journey is marked by several records and achievements. He broke Dennis Lillee’s world record for the fastest 50 wickets in ODIs, achieving this milestone in just 23 matches. He held this record from 1998 until 2009 when Ajantha Mendis surpassed it in only 19 matches.
Agarkar also holds the Indian record for scoring the fastest 50 in ODIs, accomplishing the feat in just 21 balls during a match against Zimbabwe. Additionally, he holds the record for being the quickest to take 200 wickets and complete 1000 runs in ODIs, achieving this milestone in 133 matches, surpassing the previous record held by South African Shaun Pollock.
During his career, Agarkar displayed his batting prowess with remarkable performances, including a Test century at Lord’s against England in 2002 and a notable 95 against West Indies in 2002.
Ajit Bhalchandra Agarkar’s contributions to Indian cricket, both as a player and a leader, have earned him a well-deserved place among the notable cricketers in Indian cricket history. His records, achievements, and the impact he made on the game continue to inspire future generations of cricketers in India and around the world.
As the current chairman of the BCCI selection committee, Agarkar continues to serve Indian cricket, guiding the selection process and contributing to the development of the sport he is so passionate about. His legacy in the world of cricket is a testament to his dedication and talent as one of India’s finest fast bowlers and all-rounders.