Ajit Laxman Wadekar 82nd Birth Anniversary: Ajit Laxman Wadekar, who was born on 1 April 1941, is best remembered as the man who taught India to win abroad. Wadekar, an aggressive batsman, a fine fielder, and a leader par excellence, would forever be associated with 1971, the year India won for the first time in West Indies and England, feats that were considered impossible. He was also an exceptional slip fielder. Today marks the 82nd birthday of Wadekar.
Wadekar was a scholar who entered cricket very late in life. Wadekar told ESPNCricinfo an intriguing story about his entry into the game.
“Baloo Gupte and I attended the same college. He was two years older than I am. I was in science, while he was in the arts and I had not played cricket until that point. I was pursuing a degree in engineering. Regarding myself, I was considering completing inter-science at Elphinstone and then enrolling in engineering school.
Gavaskar recollects having to bat wearing Wadekar’s pads
“Baloo Gupte was my neighbour, and we would ride the same bus together. One day, he simply asked Ajit, “Would you like to be our college team’s 12th man?” They had a fantastic eleven, but no one to bring water onto the pitch. He stated, “You will also receive a match fee of Rs 3 per day.” This was in 1957, when Rs 3 was a considerable sum. So I seized the opportunity,” Wadekar recalled.
Despite a late start, his contributions to Indian cricket will live on forever. Later, in the 1990s, he was the manager of the Indian team and had excellent relations with the captain at the time, Mohammad Azharuddin.
His death occurred on August 15, 2018.
Some lesser-known facts about the legendary captain Ajit Laxman Wadekar:
- He is regarded as one of the best No. 3 batsmen and one of the best slip fielders in Indian cricket history.
- In 1971, he was given control of the Indian cricket team.
- India won their first-ever Test series against England and the West Indies under his leadership in 1971.
- In addition to his historic victories, Wadekar was capable of rescuing Test matches from perilous situations, and he could easily follow that up with series victories.
- Under his captaincy, legends including Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Vishwanathan, Farokh Engineer, and Bishen Bedi, among others, made their India debut.
- He was also the captain of India’s inaugural One-Day International and scored 67 runs.