Mumbai, Aug 16: President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have joined the Indian cricketing fraternity in offering tributes to former captain Ajit Wadekar, who died on Wednesday.
A great batsman & wonderful captain Ajit Wadekar, 77, passed away in Mumbai after a 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)".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.