Considered as one the best captains in the history of Indian cricket, Ajit Laxman Wadekar, popularly known as Ajit Wadekar was the player who made India cricketers believe in themselves after leading them to memorable wins against the best sides in the world during his career. Born on this day in 1941 in Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, he went on to become India’s best captain in the longest format of the game.
Wadekar made his first-class debut for Bombay in 1958-59, he had to wait eight years before playing for the national side in 1966-67 against the mighty West Indies at the Brabourne Stadium in Bombay. Despite playing in just 37 Tests, he emerged as a tower of strength to the Indian batting for seven long years.
He scored 2,113 runs at an average of 31.07 and also played in two ODI’s. Wadekar captained the Indian side which won the series in West Indies and England. It was also under his captaincy, where India won five matches in the Caribbean in the early 1970s and also recorded successive series wins over England.
On his birth anniversary, we take a look at some lesser-known facts about the legendary skipper:
1. In the history of Indian cricket, he is considered as one of the best No. 3 batsmen and one of the finest slip fielders.
2. He was handed over the reins of the Indian cricket team in 1971.
3. It was under his leadership when India created history by registering their first ever Test series wins against England and the West Indies in 1971.
4. Other than the historic wins, Wadekar had the ability to draw Test matches from perilous situations and following it with series wins was something he could manage easily.
5. He honed the skills of legends such as Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Vishwanathan, Farokh Engineer and Bishen Bedi among others who made their debut for India under his captaincy.
6. He was also the captain of India’s first-ever ODI game and scored 67 runs.
7. Wadekar is also among the three compatriots to represent the country as a Test player, captain, coach/manager and the Chairman of Selectors. He was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1967 and the Padma Shri in 1972.