Tributes Pour In For Cricket Legend Ajit Wadekar
Ajit Wadekar, after his retirement, served as the manager of the national team led by Mohammed Azharuddin in the 1990s.
Ajit Wadekar, former cricket captain, died at the age of 77 after a prolonged illness at Jaslok Hopsital in South Mumbai on Wednesday. Wadekar led India to their first overseas win in England and the West Indies in 1971. Under Wadekar's captaincy, India won five matches in the West Indies in the early 1970s before beating England in a three-match series. He is survived by wife Rekha, two sons and a daughter. Wadekar, an aggressive batsman was a trailblazer in Indian cricket despite a mere 37 Test appearances. The former left-handed batsman was also India's first ODI captain and appeared only in two matches.
"With a heavy heart we bid adieu to Ajit Wadekar. The former India captain is no more. Cricketer, Coach, Manager and Chairman of Selectors - Mr Wadekar served Indian cricket in many different ways," tweeted the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
With a heavy heart we bid adieu to Ajit Wadekar. The former India captain is no more. Cricketer, Coach, Manager and Chairman of Selectors - Mr Wadekar served Indian cricket in many different ways. pic.twitter.com/6zdFtleXB9— BCCI (@BCCI) August 15, 2018
Following his death, cricketers and fans alike took to Twitter to pay their respects.
So many memories of Ajit Wadekar. None more powerful than leading India to series wins in 1971 in England and the West Indies. Much admired, much loved. Page in Indian cricket and in our memories.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 15, 2018
V sad news-Ajit Wadekar passing away-only Indn Capt to win 3 series in a row-2 away 1 at home-ALW was good contemporary-we had differences o opinion but always respected glory o Crkt-fine batsman & great close in catch-served Indn Crkt w/aplomb as player/Selectr/Coach-RIP Jeetu!— Bishan Bedi (@BishanBedi) August 15, 2018
Extremely saddened by the news that former Indian cricket captain #AjitWadekar is no more. He led India to many historic victories! My condolences to the friends & family! RIP Sir, you will always be missed!— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) August 15, 2018
!— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) August 15, 2018
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ramnath Kovind also took to twitter to pay their tributes.
Ajit Wadekar will be remembered for his rich contribution to Indian cricket. A great batsman & wonderful captain, he led our team to some of the most memorable victories in our cricketing history. He was also respected as an effective cricket administrator. Pained by his demise.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 15, 2018
Sad at the passing of Ajit Wadekar, one of Indian cricket's finest left-handed batsman and captain during the iconic overseas test victories in 1971 in the Caribbean and England. Condolences to his family and to the cricket fraternity #PresidentKovind— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 15, 2018
In this career, Wadekar scored 2,113 Test runs, including 14 half-centuries and one hundred.
Wadekar made his first class debut in 1958-59 before making his India debut in 1966-67.
After his retirement, he also served as the manager of the national team led by Mohammed Azharuddin in the 1990s. He later went on to become the chairman of selectors as well.
In his tenure as manager, India had finished semi finalists at the 1996 World Cup. He later went on to become the chairman of selectors as well. Wadekar is the only cricketer apart from Lala Amarnath and Chandu Borde to have served as captain, manager, and selector in Indian cricket.
But the feat that made him an icon was the Test wins in the West Indies and England. In a side that included the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, G Viswanath and Bishan Singh Bedi, Wadekar took over the captaincy from MAK Pataudi in 1971.
(With inputs from agencies)