Former India captain, manager and chief selector Ajit Wadekar dies at 77

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Former India captain, coach and chief selector Ajit Wadekar died on Wednesday after suffering from prolonged illness in Mumbai.

Taking to Twitter, journalisr Rajdeep Sardesai wrote, “Very very sad news: the iconic former Indian cricket captain Ajit Wadekar is no more. Sir, will miss you ! RIP”

Sardesai’s subsequent tweet read, “The year 1971: the year of Sam Manekshaw, Indira Gandhi, Rajesh Khanna, and Indian cricket. As captain of the victorious team, Ajit Wadekar was the man who became the face of Indian cricket’s first major overseas triumph. RIP”

Regarded as one of the finest batsmen of his time, Wadekar had led the Indian team to historic victories  in the West Indies and England in 1970s. The team he had led inc,luded greats such as Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Viswanath and Farokh Engineer. His team also had bowling greats such as Bishen Bedi, EAS Prasanna, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan.

He was honoured witrh the Arjuna Award in 1967 and Padmashri in 1972. In the 90s, he served Indian cricket team led by Mohammad Azharuddin as the manager. He was one of the few players, who functioned in varying capacities including captain, manager and chief selectors.

His former teammate Bishan Bedi wrote, “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!”

Condolences have started pouring on on the tragic death of a legend. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted, “My heartfelt condolences to Former cricketer Ajit Wadekar.may his soul rest in peace.”

Noted cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle wrote, “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.”

 

 

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