Veterans cherish memories of ‘skipper’ Ajit Wadekar

Mumbai : Ranji stalwart Milind Rege on Monday described late Ajit Wadekar as a captain for whom the players wanted to perform.

Wadekar, who had led India to their first Test series win in West Indies and England, passed away here on August 15 following prolonged illness.

“You wanted to perform for Ajit. The entire Mumbai team wanted to perform for one man (Wadekar),” said Rege who played under Wadekar for Mumbai.

Rege, along with Vasu Paranjpe, and former India player Pravin Amre walked down the memory lane at a condolence meeting held here on Monday in memeory of Wadekar. Rege recalled an instance when skipper Wadekar trusted his skills as a novice off-spinner.

“My first match Rest of India vs Bombay then and I and Sunil (Gavaskar) had seen the players from the stands. The who’s who ——Chandu Borde, Tiger Pautaudi, Hanumant Singh, Abid Ali —-all these big players came for batting.

“Ajit gave me the ball and said Milind, don’t look at the batsmen, just look at the wicket and bowl. They (the opposition batsmen) might be big but are you less?” remembered Rege, a veteran off-spinner.

“Can you imagine giving an advise to an 18-year-old kid having hardly played any class of cricket, and that is what Ajit Wadekar made us. He made us solid cricketers for Mumbai. It was Ajit Wadekar who made the Mumbai team,” added Rege.

Rege and Paranjpe also recalled Wadekar as a brilliant slip fielder, while Amre narrated an instance of how an advise by Wadekar helped him score a hundred on his debut in Durban.

Video clips of Wadekar’s brother Ashok and his well wishes were played where in they recalled certain instances of his life.

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