[Watch] When new chief selector Ajit Agarkar hit a Test hundred at Lord’s in 2002

Former Indian pacer Ajit Agarkar was recently named the chief selector of the Indian Men’s team by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ahead of the tour to the West Indies. Agarkar has previously been the selector for Mumbai and the assistant coach for the Delhi Capitals in the IPL.

However, millennials remember the 45-year-old during his playing days when he was a genuine swing bowler with supreme ball-striking abilities. Agarkar’s lone international century came in a Test match against England in 2002 at the Mecca of Cricket, Lord’s.

Team India was riding on the high of arguably their best white-ball win under Sourav Ganguly in the final of the Natwest series against England, chasing an improbable 326. However, despite entering the Test series full of confidence, India were put under the pump in the first Test at Lord’s by a rejuvenated English side.

Winning the toss and batting first, England posted a mammoth 487 in their first innings and bowled the Indians for a paltry 221. The hosts then batted at a rapid run rate in their third innings to set Ganguly’s men an improbable target of 568 to win.

Stuttering at 170-6, India seemed destined for a mauling, when Ajit Agarkar walked in at No.8 and produced a breathtaking display of batsmanship. The talented Mumbaikar scored a brilliant unbeaten 109 off 190 deliveries to help India reach a respectable 397, despite ending up on the losing side.

Here is a video of Agarkar’s stunning century at Lord’s:

A noteworthy star is Agarkar recorded his highest ODI score of 95 also later in the same year against the West Indies at Jamshedpur.

Fun fact: Several all-time great batters, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Sunil Gavaskar, Ricky Ponting, and Jacques Kallis, never recorded a century at Lord’s in their illustrious careers.

Ajit Agarkar’s International career at a Glance

Agarkar had an incredible start to his ODI career.
Agarkar had an incredible start to his ODI career.

Ajit Agarkar made his ODI and Test debut for India in 1998 and instantly produced match-winning spells, especially in white-ball cricket. The medium-pacer became the fastest bowler to 50 ODI wickets, achieving the feat in just 23 games until Ajantha Mendis broke the record in 2009.

Agarkar still holds the record for the fastest half-century by an Indian player in the 50-over format. He is also the fastest to achieve the 1000 runs and 200 wickets mark in just 133 matches.

Among the highlights of his career was the 6/41 in a Test fixture against Australia at Adelaide in 2003, leading India to a famous four-wicket win. Agarkar was also part of the victorious Indian squad from the 2007 T20 World Cup and is the third-highest wicket-taker for India in ODIs with 288 scalps behind only Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath.

Overall, the charismatic cricketer finished with 349 wickets and 1,855 runs across formats in 221 matches for Team India.

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