The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Improved Agarkar in limelight
- Parthiv Patel, Sanjay Bangar on unsteady wicket

Dhaka: They never got a chance to showcase their talent in the quadrennial showpiece in South Africa. Team India was on a roll and there was no point disturbing the winning combination.

Post World Cup, the script has unfolded in a different manner for Ajit Agarkar, Sanjay Bangar and Parthiv Patel. New plans for the future have already been set afoot, throwing open various slots in the side. While Agarkar has made optimum use of the chances that have come his way, Bangar and Parthiv are still struggling to make their mark.

The TVS Cup has revealed a new-look Agarkar whose discipline and precision has been amply rewarded. No spraying the ball around, no flinching in the slog overs. With Zaheer Khan having been forced to miss the last few games because of a hamstring niggle, the Mumbai allrounder has led the attack suitably.

Noticeably, Agarkar hasnít been trying too many extravagant things, just sticking to the basics of line and length. With Jawagal Srinath undecided on his future, the prospect of emerging a top contender for the third seamerís slot in the line-up has made him more focused.

If Agarkar can keep his form, the Indiansí search for an allrounder at No. 7 may also end with him. If he manages to cling on, the thinktankís options of fielding an extra bowler will remain open.

For Bangar, things havenít fallen into place after his success in the home series against the West Indies. A poor tour of New Zealand shattered his prospects and the going has been tough since. His bowling was never intimidating and the batting hasnít thrived in the limited opportunities after 2002. He hasnít justified the faith in the two matches here too. However, he is trying to put up a brave front.

ďIíve put it all behind me. Things have obviously got to move on from here and Iím always trying to give off my best,Ē Bangar told The Telegraph. ďIím not thinking about chances coming my way. I always try to compete with myself and improve my game,Ē the Railways allrounder added.

Does he appear to be a bit rusty because of lack of match practice' ďIíve just played a Duleep Trophy match and done well,Ē he remarked.

Parthiv Patel, too, had a Duleep Trophy outing before coming here. But his batting continues to work to his disadvantage.

The thinktank had thought of opening the innings with him during the tournament. The plan was shelved since he wasnít too keen on the new responsibility. Finally, he was drafted in at No. 3 in the previous game against Bangladesh, a move which did not really pay off.

ďIím disappointed and working with coach John Wright on various aspects of my batting. Just trying to keep myself focused after the starts so that I can build on them,Ē Patel said last evening.

With Rahul Dravid unlikely to keep wickets henceforth, a wicketkeeper with sound batting capabilities may get a look-in. Vikram Rathore has already been in skipper Sourav Gangulyís plans and it wonít be surprising if he gets the break. Mohammed Kaif will then come under the scanner as Rathoreís batting prowess is ideally suited at the top of the order.

These are early days, but the options might just be looked into during the tri-series in October, if not earlier.

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