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9 Facts about former Indian captain Ajit Wadekar

The former Indian captain passed away at the age of 77 on 15th August 2018 which was the 71st Independence Day of India.

Ajit Wadekar
Left handed Indian cricketer Ajit Laxman Wadekar. (Photo by Leonard Burt/Central Press/Getty Images)

Ajit Wadekar, the former Indian captain passed away at the age of 77 on 15th August 2018 which was the 71st Independence Day of India. The Mumbai player is widely considered as one of the greatest players to have ever led the India team. Wadekar captained the national team between 1971 and 1974 which included three consecutive series wins. The left-hander batsman also ensured the mighty Mumbai team maintained a victorious streak in the Ranji Trophy during his tenure.

Here are nine facts about Ajit Wadekar that you should know:

1. 1st ODI captain of India:

He was India’s first ever ODI captain when he led the team in their maiden ODI on July 13th in 1974 against England at Leeds. He featured in only one more ODI in his career when they played England at The Oval couple of days later.

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2. A record on ODI debut:

Wadekar scored 67 in India’s first ever ODI which is the 3rd highest score for any player who made his ODI debut as captain. Zimbabwe’s Duncan Fletcher scored an unbeaten 69 in the 1983 World Cup game while Scotland’s Ryan Watson scored 80 against Pakistan in 2006 on his ODI debut as captain.

3. One man show:

Wader scored 143 in the Wellington Test in 1968 against New Zealand where no other Indian got a fifty. His knock helped India win the game by eight wickets and take a 2-1 lead in the 4-match Test series. The team registered its maiden away series win with another big victory in the final Test. It was the only century in Wadekar’s 37-match Test career.

4. First to win in England West Indies:

India ended their drought in England and Caribbean under Ajit Wadekar’s captaincy. They defeated the West Indian team in the Port of Spain Test in 1971 and ended up winning the 5-match Test series 1-0. India also defeated England on their soil later that year with a 4-wicket win the decider Test at the Oval.

5. A series win against England:

India made a comeback in the 1972/73 home series against England after losing the first Test in Delhi by six wickets. Under Wadekar’s captaincy, the home team defeated the visitors by 28 runs and four wickets respectively in Kolkata and Chennai to take lead in the series.

With the last two Tests ending in a draw, Waderkar became only the 2nd Indian captain to win a Test series against England after Nari Contractor, who also won a home series in 1962/63.

6. No.1 in Test rankings:

The three consecutive series wins against England (2) and West Indies between 1971 and 1973 under Wadekar’s captaincy helped India to achieve the No.1 ranking for the first time in Test cricket in April 1973. They stayed on the top for 15 months before losing 0-3 to England in 1974 which turned out to be the Wadekar’s last International appearance.

7. Autographed Bat:

Wadekar was an employee with the State Bank of India during the 1970s and everyone opened an account there would end up getting a mini bat with autograph of the Indian skipper. Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar got his hands on one such bat when his sister Savita opened an account in the State Bank.

8. Record Ranji Trophy titles:

He holds the record for winning the most number of Ranji Trophy finals as captain. He led Mumbai to title in four consecutive Ranji seasons – 1968/69, 1969/70, 1970/71 and 1971/72.

Wadekar was a part of 11 Ranji final wins which are the 2nd most by any player after another Mumbai player Ashok Mankad who was a part of 12 victorious Ranji finals.

9. Service after playing career:

He served the Indian team even after retiring as a player. He was the head coach of the team between September 1992 and March 1996. Wadekar was also the chairman of the selection panel between October 1998 and September 1999.

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