New Delhi: President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the Indian cricketing fraternity in offering tributes to former captain Ajit Wadekar, who died on Wednesday.
Wadekar, 77, passed away in Mumbai after prolonged illness.
Kovind, in his message, wrote, "Sad at passing of Ajit Wadekar, one of Indian cricket's finest left-handed batsman and captain during iconic overseas Test victories in 1971 in the Caribbean and in England. Condolences to his family and cricket fraternity (sic)".
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
The sentiment was echoed in the prime minister's tribute.
"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," Modi tweeted.
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
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Wadekar's death came as a shock to him.
"We lost a great cricket player, first Indian captain to achieve overseas wins, aggressive batsman and an all-rounder. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans!" he said.
Shocked to hear about the demise of Former Captain of the Indian Cricket Team Shri Ajit Wadekar!
We lost a great cricket player, first Indian captain to achieve overseas wins, aggressive batsman and an all rounder.
My deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans! pic.twitter.com/IENDsoEmfe— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) August 15, 2018
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) too, remembered Wadekar's contribution to the game not just as a player but also as a team manager and selector.
"With 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," read a tweet on the Board's official handle.
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
India's head coach Ravi Shastri, whose last series as India player (in South Africa) was incidentally Wadekar's first as manager, also expressed his grief.
"Sad moment for Indian cricket to lose one of its most successful captains. Shrewd to the core. Condolences to the entire family #TeamIndia #RIPAjitWadekar," Shastri wrote.
— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) August 15, 2018
Mohammed Azharuddin, who was the captain of the Indian team when Wadekar was the manager of the side, paid his tributes to Wadekar.
#AjitWadekar sir .. 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..@BCCI pic.twitter.com/xLMb2i82B2— Mohammed Azharuddin (@azharflicks) August 15, 2018
Sachin Tendulkar too took to Twitter to pay condolences.
Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Ajit Wadekar Sir. He was someone who was instrumental in bringing out the best in us during the 90s. We’ll always be grateful for his advice and guidance. Praying for strength for his family during this difficult time. 🙏 RIP pic.twitter.com/coSyac73ot— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) August 16, 2018
Bishan Singh Bedi also paid his condolences to his one-time captain.
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
Meanwhile, former cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar shared a video on his Twitter while paying tributes to Wadekar.
Ajit Wadekar’s impact on Indian cricket is immense. His contemporaries worshipped him, such was his aura. Found him to be a tough character as coach. Exceptional Indian cricketer... RIP Sir.🙏— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) August 15, 2018
Recorded this on my iPhone last Dec from Point in a friendly fixture. So glad I did. pic.twitter.com/XbdFGn4Izp
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) August 15, 2018
Virender Sehwag too paid his tributes, saying,
A rare Cricketer, Captain, Coach, Manager and Chairman of Selectors - a truly great servant of Indian Cricket. Heartfelt condolences to family and loved ones. Om Shanti Ajit Wadekar Sir 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/67UVcvJUK9— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 16, 2018
Wadekar played 37 Tests for India and scored 2,113 runs. He is best remembered for being the captain of the Indian team which won Test series in England and the West Indies for the first time, in 1971.