Former Indian Test skipper Ajit Wadekar, who led the national team to their first-ever series victories in England and the West Indies, breathed his last at the age of 77 after a prolonged illness at the Jaslok Hospital here on Wednesday. In a statement, the hospital said, “Ajit Wadekar was declared dead on arrival at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre. He had been critically unwell for sometime and was seeking treatment for the same.” Wadekar, who was considered as India’s finest slip fielders and an aggressive left-hander, appeared in a total of 37 Tests and amassed 2,113 runs at an average of 31.07. He scored his sole century against New Zealand in 1968. He also played two One-Day Internationals (ODIs) for India, with the highest score of 67 runs against England in 1974. Wadekar was also instrumental in leading the Indian side to famous Test series triumphs against England and West Indies in 1971.Born in Bombay, Wadekar made his first-class debut in 1958, while he played his first Test match against the West Indies in 1966. In 1967, the Government of India bestowed Wadekar with the Arjuna Award. He also received the Padma Shri Award, the country’s fourth highest civilian honour, in 1972. Wadekar also served as the manager of the Indian cricket team in the 1990s, along with the then captain of the national team, Mohammad Azharuddin. Indian cricket team observed two minutes of silence in Nottingham for the former cricketer and coach Ajit Wadekar, who passed away last night in Mumbai.The silence was observed during the practice hours of the Kohli-led side ahead of the third Test of the ongoing five-match series against England. Earlier, people from cricket fraternity like Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, and Ravi Shastri took to Twitter to mourn the demise of the cricketing giant.
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