Former India cricket captain Ajit Wadekar, who led the team to path-breaking Test wins in England and the West Indies, passed away today after prolonged illness. 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, a member of the Wadekar family, who did not wish to be named, told PTI. “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.
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.