He was a simple guy who loved playing cricket
It was impossible to get upset with Ajit Wadekar, he just had that knack of winning people over. He will be missed greatly for they don’t make people like him anymore.
To the internet generation the name Ajit Wadekar may not mean much, but to those especially from Mumbai who grew up in the 1960s and 70s he was one of the greats of Indian cricket. Sheer numbers don’t do him any justice for he didn’t have the 40plus average which was seen as the gold standard in those days. But those who saw him bat will vouch for the fact that he was easily one of India’s best batsmen back then.
He was so consistent in the Ranji and Duleep Trophy matches when they were fiercely competitive and not the ‘help yourself to triple centuries’ as is the case now. The fact that triple centuries were so rare those days gives one an idea of how good the attacks were then. Not wanting to be one who thinks only his days were great, the fact remains that today’s domestic cricket does not have the participation of the current Indian internationals and so is not a real test of the domestic batsmen and bowlers. Even interuniversity cricket had Ranji players playing in it then and so was pretty competitive.
Wadekar’s triple hundred against B. S. Chandrasekhar and Erapalli Prasanna was a masterpiece. He was driving the offspin of Prasanna through the covers and playing the cut and pull off Chandra to keep scoring at a good pace. For the first time the legendary spin twins looked lost as they didn’t know where to bowl to him.
When he came back to the dressing room at the various intervals after his first century I would rush to him and take off his leg guards so he could get a few moments
Memories remain: Ajit Wadekar and Sunil Gavaskar during the England tour of 1971.