Cricket is as much about luck as it is about talent or opportunity or hard work. Lady Luck supersedes nearly everything: hard work, ability, form, class. And this circus of IPL is the perfect laboratory for observing such facts.
So, who is the luckiest man in the IPL?
The guy seated next to the blonde cheerleaders? Hmm...well, he must have had to shell out some decent amount of money for that. I don't call that luck.
Then maybe Kevin Pieterson or Flintoff, for getting 1.55 million dollar contracts? Well, Freddy got injured and KP had to work under "The Royal Boss" Mallya. So, I imagine it wasn't such a delightful experience. Just disappointment for one, and pressure for the other.
So who is this lucky guy I talk about?
Meet Mr. Ajit Agarkar. Former Indian international fast bowler, and fantasized by some as an all-rounder even. At one stage some predicted that he'd be the next Kapil Dev, while the legendary Wasim Akram called Agarkar, "the best young fast bowler I have ever seen from India."
Sadly, talent though he had in plenty, in Wasim's words he was lazy and inefficient in applying himself. Agarkar, after racing past 100 international wickets before one could blink an eye, faded. He was in and out of the squad for years, and finally...just out.
But IPL arrived and fortunes changed. Many were surprised that Agarkar was "bought" for a staggering price of about US$ 300,000, when many young talented under-19 cricketers were going for much less price.
Last season Agarkar failed miserably, as did his team: the Kolkata Knight Riders. He played only in the first three matches, and then had to sit out.
This season though, despite buying Mushraffe Mortaza for another astonishing price, team management decided to keep him as a reserve and play Agarkar in the starting line up instead! Reasons...unknown.
But again Agarkar has failed. So much that he has yet to complete his quota of four overs in a match in the IPL this season. In one match he bowled only one over for 12 runs, in another just two overs for about the same run-rate and so on.
Brad Hodge has bowled more overs than him! So, is Agarkar in the side as a batsman? Well, no, because he comes in at No. 8, and hasn't scored many runs either. Add to that: despite being a really good fielder, this season he has misfielded more than fielded.
And yet he has invariably been picked for majority of matches.
So, let me get this straight. The strategy of John Buchanan and Shahrukh Khan is to play Agarkar, come what may. He will just...play! Not bowl more than an over, bat if at all need be and don't mind if he gets out 'cause he is after in the side as a bowler.
If I am Ajit Agarkar, I would be damn happy right now. I get paid more than JP Duminy and Lasitha Malinga combined; I don't need to bowl, or bat, or field well. I still get to play cricket in the IPL. While I am fielding or waiting in the dug-out, I can simply look at the cheerleaders!
Oh, life is good, when you are the luckiest man in the IPL!!