Ajit Wadekar is a former Indian batsman, who has represented India in international cricket.
Early Life & Background
Ajit was born on 1st April 1941 in Mumbai, Maharashtra. His father’s name was Laxman Wadekar. He was interested in cricket since his childhood. He completed his studies from Ruia College, Mumbai.
Journey in the Sports Industry
Ajit Wadekar started playing cricket for Mumbai University and played in the Rohinton Baria Inter-University tournament. He later became the captain of the team. He was a left-hand batsman and left-arm bowler. He made his debut in a first-class cricket for team Mumbai in 1958. He also played in Ranji Trophy from Team Mumbai and won two Ranji Trophies. He also played in the 18 Duleep Trophy matches and was the captain of the West Zone in six of them. However, in spite of being a good performer at domestic level, he had to wait for a long time to make his big debut for the Indian cricket team. Finally in December 1966, Ajit made his Test Cricket debut against West Indies at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. His performance was appreciated and he became an integral part of team India. While playing for Team India, Ajit always used to bat in the number 3 position. Later, he became the captain of Team Mumbai. In 1971, he took over the Indian Cricket captaincy from Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi (Saif Ali Khan’s father), who had proved himself as one of the best captains and thus there were high expectations from Wadekar too. Wadekar proved himself as better as he became the first Indian Cricket captain to achieve an overseas win. He won the series against West Indies and England in 1971. They also won another series against England at home. He performed best in the New Zealand Tour in 1969-70 by scoring his first and the last Test Century.
In July 1974, he debuted in the One Day International (ODI) in a match against England. It was India’s first ever ODI. Even his last ODI was against England in 1974 itself. Later, India lost the series against England, due to which Wadekar was forced to step down as a captain. After that he soon declared his retirement from international cricket. His last Test Match was against England in July 1974. Later, he played just one First-class match and declared his retirement from all forms of cricket. In his cricket career, he played 37 Test matches and scored 2113 runs from 1966 to 1974. In 1990s, he made a comeback in cricket as a manager of Indian Cricket Team. He also offered his support to ICL which was the emergence of a breakaway of league. He then became a referee for a few games in the ICL. In 1998, he became the chairman of the Indian National Cricket Team Selectors. In 2011, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award by the BCCI during their Annual Award Function. He has also been honoured with Arjuna Award and Padmashri Award by the Government of India. He is one of the few Indians, who have represented India as a Test player, Captain, Manager and as a chairman of selectors.