This very insightful read on cricinfo.com made me wonder if I had been unfairly and savagely critical (purely out of cricketing human emotion) to Ajit Agarkar in my earlier post (and in general). According to the article, simply put, the combination of Agarkar's bowling average, economy rate and strike rate is better than anyone else who has bowled quick in Indian cricket! (Feel free to read that sentence again...I know I did.) Whats missing ? Why does he look like a faint shadow of his statistics every time he comes to bowl ? Where does this disparity stem from ?
After a fair bit of reading and some thinking, I concluded that this disparity stemmed from first impressions. The very first Agarkar we saw and the adjectives we associated with him. The occasional glimpses of the vintage Agarkar that sometimes seeps out even today doesn't help either. For example, every time he is hit for a boundary, the idea that he always concedes one per over is refreshed by our selective memory and the image lingers on and feels at home. This is compounded by the notion that he hasn't fulfilled his potential. That he could have been a great all-rounder and done much better.
I guess we owe him a apology or at the very least a pat on the back for bearing the cross and running in with all his heart all these years. He may not be the legendary bowler we have always been looking for but meeting the expectations of 1 billion fans is no mean task and its up to us to try and remember this the next time he bowls. Credit is due here and today I look only at his achievements and congratulate him on a job well done.