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Ajit Agarkar Named Chairman of Indian Selection Committee

Former India all-rounder Ajit Agarkar has been appointed as the Chairman of the Indian Senior Men’s Selection Committee, according to an announcement by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday. Agarkar, a former India T20 World Cup winning all-rounder, takes over the position that has been vacant since February when Chetan Sharma was removed following a sting operation that caused controversy. The BCCI rules state that the most capped Test player among the five-member committee should be named as its head.

The decision to appoint Agarkar as the chairman of selectors came after the BCCI officials realized the need for a chairman with a stronger profile than Shiv Sundar Das, who had been serving as the interim head. It was initially challenging to find a replacement from the North Zone, which Sharma belonged to, leading to the selection of Agarkar, who hails from the West Zone, specifically Mumbai. Salil Ankola, also from Mumbai, is another selector on the committee, but an official mentioned the possibility of a North Zone selector replacing him in due course. Ankola will accompany the team on their tour to the West Indies, where India will play two Tests, three ODIs, and five T20s starting from July 12. The other selectors are Subroto Banerjee and Sridharan Sharath.

With 191 ODIs and 26 Tests under his belt, Agarkar emerged as the frontrunner for the position after being interviewed by the Cricket Advisory Committee, consisting of Sulakshana Naik, Ashok Malhotra, and Jatin Paranjape. Throughout his nine-year career, Agarkar claimed 349 international wickets and demonstrated his administrative skills during his tenure as the chairman of selectors for Mumbai from 2017 to 2019. He also had stints with the Delhi Capitals, working alongside coach Ricky Ponting and director of cricket Sourav Ganguly.

As Agarkar commences his official role, his primary responsibility will be to announce India’s squad for the five T20Is against West Indies. While the line-ups for ODIs and Tests were already announced, the T20I setup is undergoing a transition with a younger and fresher look, led by Hardik Pandya. Agarkar will aim to streamline the players who will represent India in the T20 World Cup scheduled for next year in the West Indies and USA.

Agarkar’s exceptional playing career and notable achievements played a significant role in his selection as chairman. Apart from his impressive tally of nearly 350 wickets, Agarkar was a vital member of the Indian team from 1997 to 2007. He holds the record for the fastest half-century by an Indian in ODIs, achieved against Zimbabwe in 2000, and is one of the only three players from the famed ‘Fab Five’ era to score an international century at Lord’s Cricket Ground, joining the ranks of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, and Virender Sehwag.

Known for his accuracy and deadly inswingers, Agarkar often bowled at speeds exceeding 140 km/h before adjusting his pace over time. One of his most memorable performances came in the Adelaide Test in 2003, where his spell of 6/41 played a pivotal role in India’s victory, breaking Australia’s resistance in the second innings. While the Test is widely remembered for Rahul Dravid’s outstanding 233 in the first innings, Agarkar’s destructive bowling was equally instrumental. Agarkar also held the record for being the quickest player to reach 50 ODI wickets, achieving the feat in just 23 matches, which was later surpassed by Sri Lanka spinner Ajanta Mendis and Nepal spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.

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