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February 12, 1999
Agarkar, Kambli may miss World Cup
All-rounder Ajit Agarkar and lefthander Vinod Kambli, considered ideal one-day players, have not informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India about their state of fitness, eight days before the selectors drop 11 players from the World Cup list of probables.
Kambli twisted his ankle badly about a year ago while playing against Zimbabwe at home in an international. Agarkar, who holds the fastest one-day wicket haul of 50 wickets, was left out on the eve of the Indian tour of New Zealand, when, in December, doctors found a stress fracture on his left leg.
The BCCI is still awaiting a fitness clearance certificate from both cricketers, though Agarkar has informed the Board that he is still not ready to play the first Asian Test at Calcutta on February 16.
Both Agarkar and Kambli are in the list of 30 World Cup probables. The list is to be shortened to 19 players on Friday next. The selectors are uncertain if they can accommodate the two Bombay players with their physical condition being so uncertain.
Agarkar had raised hopes when the physician attending him had announced that his patient should be playing friendly matches by the beginning of this month. But the all-rounder was not fit enough to do so.
Kambli has little hope of total match fitness because he played this season as Bombay's captain despite not being in top condition. According to Bombay manager Ashok Mankad, he was in the side only because Amol Muzumdar and Sachin Tendulkar were absent.
Mankad painted a bleak picture of Kambli. "Though Kambli was not fully fit, I played him in the absence of Tendulkar and Amol Muzumdar. I wanted someone who is experienced enough to bat in the middle order. We had decided that Vinod would field close-in only but I doubt whether he is fit to play for India.
"He can run straight but can't run sideways. While running between wickets, he finds it difficult to stop and run. Once he takes off he finds it difficult to stop. If he fields first he gets tired and that affects his batting. He has to sort out all these problems.
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