Salim Durani is a sad man after he got the news of Ajit Wadekar's passing away on Wednesday. The 83-year-old says, he shared a special bond with his former India team-mate.
"Ajit (Wadekar) and I shared a special bond. We knew each other when we were not playing for India in Test cricket - from the mid 1950s. In fact from the days I used to play for Khar Gymkhana and he for Ruia College at the Matunga Gymkhana grounds.
"I am deeply hurt and sad that Ajit has left us. Bahuth dukh hai (very sad). We were very close and like a family. He was a very sweet person," Durani said.
Durani also had a special mention of Wadekar's role during the Port of Spain Test match in 1971.
"A lot of cricketers talk about my role in the Port of Spain Test in 1971. People say that I asked for the bowling, which is not true. I am not a cricketer or person of that sort. He asked me to set the field for my bowling, but I agreed with the field he set for me.
"I got the wickets of the great Garfield Sobers and Clive Lloyd."
Durani also lauded Wadekar's captaincy and said he always gave the bowlers freedom.
"Ajit was not a talkative captain or person. He was a very simple and intelligent person and an efficient captain. He never tried to dominate the bowling department of his team. He carried the team on his shoulders."
Also read: Wadekar started a new era, says Prasanna
"Once he got into the 30s, he became a very difficult batsman to bowl at on any kind of pitch. We were involved in many tussles when Bombay and Rajasthan played each other in Ranji Trophy matches," Durani also said.
Wadekar was one with a sense of humour and Durani enjoyed his company whenever both met.
"He used to crack jokes whenever we met in Mumbai. I will miss him. Everybody has to leave this world. I am sad Ajit is no more with us. May his soul rest in peace."
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