In the context of Indian Cricket for both the two victories in England and West Indies in months, the name Ajit Wadekar would always be penned in gold. Then he took India home to victory over England. India lost a series and the poof in England! Not only has Wadekar been sacked, for good he was dropped.
Wadekar finished with 2 113 runs from 37 tests at 31 as the first Indian left winger to score 2000 runs. At No. 3 alone, he had 1899, a record which was a decade-long record among Indians.
Wadekar could strike the ball extremely hard, in spite of his bony frame. He established his own unique technique with his feet wide apart, batting with an open spot.
Ajit Wadekar’s career graph
In a first-class career of 17 years, he slammed 15,380 people at 47. At 59, his 4,388 runs were in the Ranji Trophy alone. In their successful season, in the 60s, he was the focal point of Bombay, and the series came when he slipped away and finished in the 1972-73 semi-final.
In 1966-67, Mysore played his best innings with a whirlwind of 323. Sam Gannon knocked his tooth off with an ebb and bowled it cleanly next ball in a tour of match on India’s 1967-68 tour of Australia.
In NZ, India won its first test and series, far from home. He arrived at his elements. He scored 80 and 71 in Dunedin and 143 in Wellington.
India won two matches, and with 328 runs of 47, Wadekar led the tables. After the casting-vote of Vijay Merchant, Ali Khan Pataudi was popular and replaced Mansur with a twin victory. Garry Sobers puzzled him and asked him to follow his lead (just so because it was a 4- day test), and even more troubled Sobers when he locked Sunil Gavaskar — fortunate luck for the ‘big man’ — into the bathroom.
In the Queen’s Park in Oval, he unleashed four-pronged spin attack, and India won their first test against the West Indies, strengthened with some splendid batting from Dilip Sardesai and Gavaskar.
The England Tour
In England, Wadekar left EAS Prasanna in favor, in tandem with Bishan Singh Bedi and Srinivas Venkataraghavan, to the benefit of Bhagwat Chandrasekhar. Prasanna’s decision was not very successful, but it led to India’s first-class test and series success in English territory. In the historical The Oval test, India was put 173. Following the collapse of Gavaskar into the duck, Wadekar smashed 45, returned to the dressing room, and fell asleep. The winter after England came up 1-0 he led India to a series victory.
In England, a “Summer with 42” in 1974, India unfortunately played a terrific cricket; disciplinary problems were posed against the team in order to confuse things further. His career was over, but not until he became the first ODI captain in India.
After being dropped from West Zone (he was then their captain), the giggling Wadekar declared another first-class cricket retirement. In the 1990s, he worked as the manager for India and had a great partnership with Mohammad Azharuddin the captain. India didn’t even lose a single home series throughout his tenure. During this time, in Sharjah, India played the Austral Asia Cup, suffered a heart attack.