Former India captains Mohammed Azharuddin and Anil Kumble found a “father figure” in Ajit Wadekar.
The legendary player mentored struggling captain and a stressed leg spinner during his days of international cricket.
After prolonged illness Wadekar, 77, passed away in Mumbai on Wednesday. It was under Wadekar that struggling captain Azharuddin, got a second chance from 1993 to 1996 having lost Test series in New Zealand, England and Australia
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“such an iconic person..deeply saddened by his demise!! Sir was a father figure for me.. May his soul rest in peace! My Heartfelt Condolences to the family,” Azharuddin tweeted.
Wadekar was a blessing for Kumble after getting dropped post 1990 tour of England. His comeback coincided with Wadekar’s entry as manager during the 1992-93 tour of South Africa. Till his retirement in 2008, Kumble was never dropped for the next 16 years.
Kumble tweeted “Deeply saddened by the passing away of #AjitWadekar He was more than a coach to the entire team - a father figure and a shrewd tactician. My heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones. He will be missed. Thank you Sir, for the confidence shown in my ability!”.
Famous cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi also praised Wadekar. “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 of (sic) opinion but always respected glory of (sic) Crkt-fine batsman & great close in catch-served Indn Crkt w/aplomb as player/Selectr/Coach-RIP Jeetu!” wrote Bedi on his twitter page.
Wadekar was a “tough character” for Sanjay Manjrekar as coach. Earlier, Majrekar had tweeted a video of Wadekar in cricket gears one last time during a charity match at the Shivaji Park Gymkhana in Mumbai.
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“Ajit Wadekar’s impact on Indian cricket is huge. His contemporaries worshipped him, such was his aura. Found him to be a tough character as coach. Exceptional Indian cricketer... RIP Sir.” tweeted Sanjay Manjrekar.