A man who taught India to win away from the home is no more now. He died at the age of 77 due to the prolonged illness. Ajit Wadekar was a very simple man, but he played very hard cricket. India did very well under his captaincy. We created history in the 1971 tours of West Indies and England. Under him, India started to win overseas. As a person he was good-natured and very helpful. He helped all the cricketers. Especially the cricketers from the State Bank.
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As legend has it, the late Wadekar was happily taking a nap on the massage table as Abid Ali scored the winning runs to secure India’s famous win at The Oval in 1971 over Raymond Illingworth’s men. But Wadekar always did it in his own style. He was an elegant left-hander who liked to score quickly, for his time. And once he took over the captaincy from Tiger Pataudi, he led the team in his own way.
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As a southpaw who batted at No 3, Wadekar was unfazed by the speed merchants. Few Indian batsmen could honestly claim that. He could hook and pull the fearsome and the fastest, even Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith, with relish. When on song, there was ‘a relaxed silkiness’ to his batting that seduced pundits and spectators alike. During his time he was also among the sharpest catchers (46 in 37 Tests) in the slips.
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