Former India paceman and current chief selector of Mumbai Salil Ankola was hospitalised on Sunday (February 28) after testing positive for COVID-19. Ankola, who made his Test match debut with Sachin Tendulkar against Pakistan in 1989, turned 53 on Monday (March 1) and posted a picture from his hospital bed on social media.
He wrote a brief caption for his picture-post, which read, “Bringing in my birthday tomorrow with COVID 19 catching up with me. Unforgettable birthday / It’s scary to go through this but will be needing all your blessings to come through with this / Will be back soon full throttle”, Ankola wrote.
Within a few hours, the comments section of Ankola’s Instagram was flooded with prayers. A handful of fans and a couple of verified Instagram accounts wished him a speedy recovery. The upcoming film ’83 actor Chirag Patil wrote, “Ul be back in no time ..! We will party soon” while TV actor Manav Gohil added, “Take care bro… you’re gonna bounce back just like the beast that you are”. TV actor Smriti Tarun Khanna, actor-singer Suyyash Rai, Kundali Bhagya fame Abhishek Kapur, and Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty, are a few to name, who reacted to Salil Ankola’s post.
Last year, in December, Ankola was named the chairman of the Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA) selection committee. He had played one Test and 20 ODIs for India. His cricketing career was a short one as at the age of 28 he quit the game due to a bone tumour.
In the late nineties, the cricketer-turned-actor appeared in a handful of TV shows. His resume of TV appearances included shows such as ‘Lekin… Woh Sach Tha’, ‘Ssshhhh… Koi Hai ‘and ‘Savitri: EK Prem Kahani’ and many others. His performance in ‘Chahat Aur Nafrat’, ‘Kora Kagaz’, ‘Kehta Hai Dil’ and ‘Karam Apnaa Apnaa’ left a lasting impression as well. He also featured in a couple of films, such as Kurukshetra, Pitaah, Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne, Silence Please… The Dressing Room, Riwayat and Tera Intezaar.
In a first-class career spanning 54 games, Ankola picked up 181 wickets at an impressive average of 25.33.