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Agarkar will play his first Ranji match at new-look Wankhede.
When Ajit Agarkar walks out for the toss on Friday, it will be the first time in four years that the Mumbai skipper will be part of a Ranji Trophy game at the new-look Wankhede Stadium. The spotlight is sure to be on superstar names like Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan, who make a return to Mumbai colours, as the multiple-time former champions commence their Ranji campaign against Railways. But it promises to be a special occasion for Agarkar too, and he is undoubtedly upbeat about it in addition to the prospect of leading a side consisting of two of India's greatest cricketers.
"Since this Stadium went in for renovation I have never played a Ranji Trophy game here. Wankhede has always been a great track to bowl," said Agarkar.
Despite being away from the limelight, there is certain to be a lot of scrutiny regarding Agarkar's fitness and leadership once the season gets underway. The captain's responsibility will ensure that the veteran pacer cannot rest his aging body sometime in between the season—especially with each team slated to play eight league games before the knock-outs.
"Injury is in nobody's hand and you can't go there thinking about such things. As I'm leading the side, I won't have the liberty to take a break but that's fine. The season will be tiring for the pacers but we all will try to give our best. Pacers do need a break ideally though. Look at Dhaval (Kulkarni), he has bowled thousands of balls in the past four seasons," Agarkar explained.
Agarkar realizes that his real challenge will start once the big names return to national duty with the commencement of the England Test series. Mumbai will then have to rely on their youngsters to do the job. Like Wasim Jaffer, the 35-year-old Agarkar too holds a credible and respected stature in the Mumbai dressing room and his vast knowledge has always been appreciated by his colleagues.
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