Not many people remember him now but Salil Ankola was a very capable fast bowler from Mumbai in the late 1980s and 1990s. While he represented India at the international level for very few matches, he had a teammate who went on to become one of the greats of the game – Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
The two men were good friends due to being teammates from the start of their international careers. It was thirty years to the day that both men made their international cricket debuts, in Karachi. Ankola was 21 years old at the time while Sachin was only 16.
Unfortunately for Ankola, his budding career was cut short by the growth of a bone tumor in 1997. Luckily though, Ankola had another quality apart from his bowling talents – his good looks. After a break of two years when he recovered from the tumor, the former cricket star took to acting.
His debut flick was Kurukshetra starring Sanjay Dutt. He went on to do a few other films and continues to feature in television shows. On Friday, Ankola shared a screenshot of a chat he had with a friend on WhatsApp. The person on whose WhatsApp page the chat took place was none other than the Little Master Sachin Tendulkar.
While posting the screenshot, Ankola wrote on Instagram: "When we connect with each other even today and feel like 30 years was just like yesterday. Memories so fresh. Fun we had being roommates."
Indeed, the conversation the two had on WhatsApp seems full of fond recollection. While the careers of the two men went in diametrically opposite directions, it looks as if their friendship is intact and strong. Indeed, Sachin has, in recent times, revived his bond with Vinod Kambli also.
Both Ankola and Kambli played for Mumbai when it was still the superpower of Indian domestic cricket. Ankola, who had received training from former English fast bowler Frank Tyson, along with other Mumbai stalwarts such as Paras Mhambrey, Nilesh Kulkarni and Abey Kuruvilla, was part of a stellar bowling attack for Mumbai.
In all, the former pacer played just one Test but 20 ODIs. In his debut and only Test, Ankola picked up just two wickets while in 20 ODIs, he earned 13 scalps at an average of 47.30. in first-class cricket, the right-arm fast bowler played 54 games to get 181 wickets at 25.33. In the List A level, his record was 70 wickets in 75 matches at an average of 32.82.
As a television personality, Ankola featured in the first seasons of Big Boss. His latest appearance on Television was on the show Karmaphaldata Shani where he played the role of Suryadev (Sun-god).