Home Cricket Did You Know Ajit Agarkar was Tipped to be the Next Sachin Tendulkar? Sounds Absurd? Here’s the Truth

Did You Know Ajit Agarkar was Tipped to be the Next Sachin Tendulkar? Sounds Absurd? Here’s the Truth

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Sachin Tendulkar and Ajit Agarkar during an event

Sachin Tendulkar and Ajit Agarkar during an event

You will be surprised to know the former Indian pacer Ajit Agarkar was once tipped to be a next Sachin Tendulkar after scoring runs at the age-group cricket. What happened after that? Read more to find out

Ajit Agarkar was tipped to be the next Sachin Tendulkar. Yes, read that statement again. Sounds rather absurd, right? Well, Ajit Agarkar seems to think so too, but the fact of the matter is Agarkar started out as a batter during his early cricketing days, and coming from the coach Ramakant Achrekar stable and a triple century under his belt in the Giles Shield, Agarkar, having ‘scored enough runs in school’ was regarded as a more than capable batter.

In a conversation on SportifywithPRG, the current chairman of the BCCI selection committee Agarkar talked about his early days as a cricketer and how he was a proper batsman before making a mark as a bowler on the international stage for team India.

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“I don’t know whose idea it was to call me [the] second Sachin Tendulkar because it sounds a bit absurd. We came from the same coach, Ramakant Achrekar, you know. I sort of changed schools in 6th grade because he [Achrekar] said if he wants to continue playing cricket seriously, he’ll have to change schools. I made that switch, which, you know, as a 13-year-old, it’s was a big call. And my parents, of course, were, you know, instrumental, so that that helped.

“And I suppose he saw me bat in the nets and that’s how he asked me to shift and grew up being a batsman. So, it was only natural if you’re doing well, anyone who was doing well and coming from Achrekar sir’s stable, then suddenly, you know the name, because Sachin, he played for India when he was 16, which is a bit unreal. So, yeah, and I had scored enough runs in school,” said Agarkar.

Agarkar went on to reveal how he started focusing on his bowling later on.

“Bowling sort of just eventually happened. Maybe I realized I could bowl a bouncer on an under-17 tour to England with India and it was exciting to bowl a bouncer. It just happened. Bowling happened at the right time because getting into the Mumbai team at that time would have been tough. Yeah, probably would have been possible because of the runs that I was getting in local cricket. But to stay there wouldn’t have been easy because there were some real stalwarts at that point,” he added.

Agarkar went on to play for India as a bowler representing the country in 19 Tests, 191 ODIs, and 4 T20Is. The Mumbaikar at one point in time was the fastest Indian to bag 50 ODI wickets and eventually became the third-highest wicket-taker for India in ODIs. Having debuted in 1998, Agarkar went on to have an illustrious nine-year international career. He continued to play domestic cricket until 2013. In his final match, he captained the Mumbai team to the Ranji Trophy title.

Interestingly, Agarkar’s batting prowess did leave its mark on the international stage as he still holds the record for the fastest fifty by an Indian batter in ODIs, reaching the landmark in 21 balls against Zimbabwe at Rajkot in 2000.

And there’s one more thing that Agarkar has achieved that even Sachin Tendulkar could not – a Test match hundred at the mecca of cricket – Lord’s.


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