Salil Ankola was born in Solapur, the feisty right-arm fast bowler has the distinction of debuting for the Indian national team along with the Master-Blaster Sachin Tendulkar. The time was November 15, 1989. The venue: National Stadium, Karachi. However, even as Tendulkar would go on to take big strides to reach the pinnacle of Cricket, Ankola, on the other hand, would languish in obscurity, at least when it comes to cricket.
It was not a bad inning for a debut – Salil managed to take two wickets for 128 runs in the drawn test. He then swiftly went on to mark his ODI debut with a figure of 2/26.
However, what followed thereafter is unfortunate. Salil suffered from a string of injuries. Although he got called when fit, he would rarely be able to break into the starting XI. This situation got so worse he inspired a term – ‘Ankolad’- for players who get called for the team but do not play.
Salil kept on coming in and out of the starting XI when he got the opportunity to prove his worth in the Hero Cup against South Africa. He went on to have a successful stint in the game, scalping 3 wickets for 33 runs. Those were the breakthrough figures, and one that still remains his best numbers.
Consequently, he was rewarded for his performances with a call-up for the 1996 World Cup. In the one match that he was asked to play (against Sri Lanka), Ankola could not manage a single wicket. That may be considered as the final nail in the coffin for the talented but unlucky fast bowler. Along with Vinod Kambli, Salil was scraped from the squad as India were knocked out of the semifinals by Sri Lanka.
Salil switched to an acting career thereafter and found relative success there. He went on to share screen space with Sanjay Dutt in Kurukshetra along with featuring in some successful TV shows like CID and Big Boss (Season 1).