Ajit Agarkar, who called it a day on Thursday, was once considered the man who could play the role of a genuine allrounder India kept searching since Kapil Dev quit the scene. Though he didn't live up to that reputation, Agarkar went on to have a fairly satisfying career as a fast bowler, who later also led his state side Mumbai.
Talking to Mumbai Mirror following his decision to quit, the Mumbaikar said motivation started dipping as his chances to play for India again got slimmer, which eventually led to his decision to retire. "I'm already 35, and realistically I've no chance of playing for India again, which has been my biggest motivation. If you have played international cricket with a bit of success, you want to do that over and over again," Agarkar said.
He admitted contemplating retirement last year itself after leading Mumbai to the Ranji Trophy triumph. "Last season we won the Ranji Trophy, with me as captain...even then I had thought about it. You get knackered at the end of the year, so I gave myself enough time to think about it. I tried to prepare myself for this season to be honest. But physically it starts to get harder when you know you don't have a chance to play for the country again," he said.
When asked what was his best moment as an India player, Agarkar was quick to point out Test wins at Headingley and Adelaide. "The Test victories straight away come to mind, especially Headingley 2002 and Adelaide 2003. The Ranji Trophy wins in 2009 and 2012 are also right up there. I treasure every single wicket I got for India. There are so many memories, but you remember the wins more than anything else."
Agarkar, who also has a Test hundred to his name, regretted that India couldn't win that game. "We didn't win that game, though it's nice to be on the honours board of the Lord's...I don't deny that," he said.
The fast bowler went on to say that he has no regrets about his cricketing career. "If I'd known that I would get 288 ODI wickets at the start of my career, I would have signed up for it right away. My strike-rate and economy were fairly good considering the time I was playing. In hindsight, I may think that I could have done a few things differently, but I've no regrets. I played my guts out."