Voices from the cricket community and beyond came together to pay tribute to one of India’s most iconic captains, Ajit Wadekar.
Wadekar, 77, passed away in Mumbai on Wednesday, 15 August after a prolonged illness.
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) 15 August 2018
The left-hander, who represented India from 1966 to 1974, scored 2113 runs in 37 Test matches, and has 14 half-centuries and one century to his name in the longest format. He was also India's maiden ODI captain.
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) 15 August 2018
A rare Cricketer, Captain, Coach, Manager and Chairman of Selectors - a truly great servant of Indian Cricket. Heartfelt condolences to family and loved ones. Om Shanti Ajit Wadekar Sir 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/67UVcvJUK9— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) 16 August 2018
Extremely sad to hear about the demise of Ajit Wadekar sir. May his soul rest in peace 🙏🏼— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) 16 August 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) 15 August 2018
As Rajdeep Sardesai, political journalist, cricket writer and son of Dilip Sardesai who played under Wadekar, wrote in a tribute, he was the "quintessential Maharashtrian middle class hero from Shivaji Park with a pencil moustache, white shirt and tight black trousers and Kolhapuri chappals. With his slightly bent gait and slow drawl and slightly accented vocabulary, he might not have suited the media age of today but for a quieter gentler era, he was the perfect cricket ambassador".
India trailing 2-0 in the ongoing Test series against England is a reminder of why Wadekar’s feat of leading his team to series victories in 1971 in England and West Indies is so significant even today.
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) 15 August 2018
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— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) 15 August 2018This is sad news.
Wadekar, who made his debut against England at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai in 1966, also had a successful coaching tenure with India. It coincided with Mohammad Azharuddin’s captaincy stint.
#AjitWadekar sir .. such an iconic person..deeply saddened by his demise!! Sir was a father figure for me.. May his soul rest in peace! My Heartfelt Condolences to the family..@BCCI pic.twitter.com/xLMb2i82B2— Mohammed Azharuddin (@azharflicks) 15 August 2018
Deeply saddened by the passing away of #AjitWadekar He was more than a coach to the entire team - a father figure and a shrewd tactician. My heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones. He will be missed. Thank you Sir for the confidence shown in my ability! 🙏— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) 16 August 2018
Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Ajit Wadekar Sir. He was someone who was instrumental in bringing out the best in us during the 90s. We’ll always be grateful for his advice and guidance. Praying for strength for his family during this difficult time. 🙏 RIP pic.twitter.com/coSyac73ot— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) 16 August 2018
He left several indelible memories. Shashi Tharoor, politician and cricket columnist, shared some of his, as did Boman Irani, the Indian actor.
Sad to learn of Ajit Wadekar's passing. I was at the Brabourne Stadium for his debut Test in 1966 against the West Indies (he failed, alas) & again to watch his coruscating 323 against Mysore in the Ranji Trophy. The original elegant Indian left-hander.— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) 15 August 2018
Also saw a stultifying innings against England at the Eden Gardens in 1972-73, illuminated only by four successive fours in one over against Underwood, on a day when India scored just 148 in a full day's batting. Wadekar could be maddeningly inconsistent. But what a player! RIP— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) 15 August 2018
This is sad news.— Boman Irani (@bomanirani) August 15, 2018
The great Ajit Wadekar is no more.
1971 was no less than a World Cup victory. Maybe more....
You will be missed dear captain.#AjitWadekar
But more than anything, he was a gentleman.
Terribly saddened to hear of the passing of one of the finest gentlemen who ever played the game, Mr Ajit Wadekar, former Captain of India, who always had a kind word to say. I first met him as a schoolboy in 1971. RIP Ajit Wadekar, Sir. #AjitWadekar— Alan Wilkins (@alanwilkins22) 15 August 2018
Ajit Wadekar’s impact on Indian cricket is immense. His contemporaries worshipped him, such was his aura. Found him to be a tough character as coach. Exceptional Indian cricketer... RIP Sir.🙏— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) 15 August 2018
Recorded this on my iPhone last Dec from Point in a friendly fixture. So glad I did. pic.twitter.com/XbdFGn4Izp