New Delhi: Former cricket captain Ajit Wadekar died at the age of 77 at Jaslok Hopsital in South Mumbai on Wednesday after a prolonged illness. Wadekar led India to clinch their first overseas victory in England and the West Indies in 1971.
India won five matches in West Indies in the early 1970s before beating England in a three-match series under the captaincy of the cricket legend.
Wadekar is survived by wife Rekha, two sons and a daughter. Despite making appearance in just 37 Tests, the former left-handed batsman was an aggressive batsman and a trailblazer in Indian cricket.
He was also India's first ODI captain and appeared only in two matches.
"With a heavy heart we bid adieu to Ajit Wadekar. The former India captain is no more. Cricketer, Coach, Manager and Chairman of Selectors - Mr Wadekar served Indian cricket in many different ways," tweeted the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Cricketers and fans took to Twitter to pay their respects to Wadekar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ramnath Kovind also paid their tributes to him on the micro-blogging site.
Ajit Wadekar will be remembered for his rich contribution to Indian cricket. A great batsman & wonderful captain, he led our team to some of the most memorable victories in our cricketing history. He was also respected as an effective cricket administrator. Pained by his demise.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 15, 2018
Sad at the passing of Ajit Wadekar, one of Indian cricket’s finest left-handed batsman and captain during the iconic overseas test victories in 1971 in the Caribbean and England. Condolences to his family and to the cricket fraternity #PresidentKovind— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 15, 2018
Extremely saddened by the news that former Indian cricket captain #AjitWadekar is no more. He led India to many historic victories! My condolences to the friends & family! RIP Sir, you will always be missed!— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) August 15, 2018
भारतीय क्रिकेट संघाच्या विजयी सीमोल्लंघनाचे कर्ते कर्णधार अजित वाडेकर काळाच्या पडद्याआड गेले. जागतिक पातळीवर भारताच्या क्रीडा अस्तित्वाची यशस्वी मोहर उमटवणारा क्रिकेटविश्वाचा उमदा तारा निखळला. त्यांचे कर्तृत्व अजरामर राहील. अजित वाडेकर यांना भावपूर्ण श्रद्धांजली!— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) August 15, 2018
V sad news-Ajit Wadekar passing away-only Indn Capt to win 3 series in a row-2 away 1 at home-ALW was good contemporary-we had differences o opinion but always respected glory o Crkt-fine batsman & great close in catch-served Indn Crkt w/aplomb as player/Selectr/Coach-RIP Jeetu!— Bishan Bedi (@BishanBedi) August 15, 2018
With a heavy heart we bid adieu to Ajit Wadekar. The former India captain is no more. Cricketer, Coach, Manager and Chairman of Selectors - Mr Wadekar served Indian cricket in many different ways. pic.twitter.com/6zdFtleXB9— BCCI (@BCCI) August 15, 2018
Wadekar scored 2,113 Test runs, including 14 half-centuries and one hundred, in his cricketing career. In 1958-59, he made his first class debut, before making an India debut in 1966-67.
He also served as the manager of the national team led by Mohammed Azharuddin in the 1990s post retirement. He later became the chairman of selectors.