Chandu Borde remembers Wadekar's remarkable captaincy

Former Indian cricketer Chandu Border spoke about Ajit Wadekar's Test debut in 1966 against West Indies.

"He was a perfect gentleman and a great friend. At today’s time, 77 is rather too early to go,” Borde said.   -  Hindu Archives

The first time Ajit Wadekar made it to the Indian cricket team, not many thought that the soft-spoken gentleman would actually turn into a doyen of the game. But having seen him from close quarters, Chandu Borde—who was part of the playing eleven in Wadekar’s debut Test against the West Indies in 1966—knew that the Mumbai-batsman would go far.

“He showed consistency in the domestic cricket for Mumbai. His performances were noteworthy. He was standing close to making the cut and that time, everyone thought of him playing for the country. He got the opportunity and made the most of it,” Borde told Sportstar on Wednesday.

In his first outing with the Indian team, Wadekar would remain calm and would be more of an introvert. But as time went by, it turned out he was one of the ‘jovial’ players around. “He would pull our legs and was very jovial. But on the field, he was very serious. The way he led the side in West Indies and England is remarkable,” Borde said.

“He was a fine gentleman and a very good leader. When he used to bat, the bowlers would go for a yo-yo. They would be struggling to stop him. He was such a confident player. Being a left hander, it was a great advantage for the Indian team,” Borde said. “We went to England in 1967, and the way he batted on that tour was quite useful for the team,” the former cricketer added.

Citing this as a big loss for Indian cricket and Mumbai cricket, Borde also feels that Wadekar’s death would be a blow for All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged (AICAPC), of which he was the president. “Not many would know about this but he was involved with the association and he helped them a lot. His contribution to the blind cricket was remarkable. He helped the organisation a lot,” Borde said.

Even after quitting the game, the two made it a point to keep in touch. On birthdays and Diwali, Borde and Wadekar would call up each other and exchange greetings. “He was a perfect gentleman and a great friend. At today’s time, 77 is rather too early to go,” Borde said.

A friendship that lasted for forty years ended on a day India celebrated its 72 independence day.