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Sunday 7 June 2020

Legendary India captain Ajit Wadekar passes away at 77

Wadekar is the only cricketer apart from Lala Amarnath and Chandu Borde to have served as captain, manager, and selector in Indian cricket

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Mumbai: Former Indian captain Ajit Wadekar passed away on Wednesday, 15 August, in Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital, reportedly due to cancer. Ajit Wadekar led the team to path-breaking Test wins in England and the West Indies.

He was 77 and is survived by his wife Rekha, two sons and a daughter. Wadekar was brought to a hospital in South Mumbai today where he was declared dead on arrival.

His last rites will be performed on Friday. “He had been critically unwell for some time and was seeking treatment for the same,” read the statement from the Jaslok Hospital.

The aggressive batsman was a trailblazer in Indian cricket despite a mere 37 Test appearances, leading India to triumphs in England and the West Indies in 1971.

In the English summer of 1971, Wadekar employed leg-spinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and a strong close-in field, led by the sharp Eknath Solkar, astutely as India stunned the hosts for the first time at The Oval.

Wadekar also led India to a 2-1 win against England at home in the 1972-73 series. The strokeful southpaw also starred in many victories for Bombay in the Ranji Trophy.

The aggressive batsman was a trailblazer in Indian cricket despite a mere 37 Test appearances, leading India to triumphs in England and the West Indies in 1971.

Wadekar scored 2,113 runs in his Test career, including one hundred, and was also the country’s first ODI captain. He appeared in just two matches, though.

India lost both those ODIs against England, which prompted Wadekar to retire from international cricket in 1974.

The Mumbaikar went on to serve as India’s manager in the ’90s during Mohammed Azharuddin’s captaincy. In his tenure as manager, India had finished semifinalists at the 1996 World Cup.

Wadekar is the only cricketer apart from Lala Amarnath and Chandu Borde to have served as captain, manager, and selector in Indian cricket.

Wadekar officiated as a match referee for a few games in the ICL and this forced a breakdown in relationship with the BCCI. He walked out of the league in 2009.

Siddharth Raghvendra Raghuvanshi
Siddharth Raghvendra Raghuvanshi
Editorial Assistant of Sirf News with experience in covering sports and entertainment for Navbharat Times and Network 18's IBN Lokmat
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