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Ajit Wadekar's 1971 victorious team felicitated in the USA


  • Ajit Wadekar’s 1971 victorious team felicitated in the USA 

    Ajit Wadekar’s 1971 victorious team was felicitated in the USA last week by Roaring India 70-80 Event Management Committee in Troy, Michigan, USA. It was revealed by Anjan, the President and P.K. Guha the chairman of Event Management company.

    Indian cricket board BCCI never paid tribute to the India’s 1971 team, which defeated formidable West Indies  and England at their home. That was first in the history of Indian cricket history, and “we also were the numero uno team in the world that time” Farokh Engineer was quoted as saying by Anand Bazar Patrika in Troy, Michigan. But, none of the board presidents did not think about this bunch of great cricketers.

    For Indian cricket administrator cricket in India started after the 1983 world cup. But, for a long time the history of that achievement of 1971 did not come in the limelight.

    “For most of the cricket lovers like us, the golden era of Indian cricket is often celebrated from that evening on the 25th of June, 1983 when the Indian Cricket team under the leadership of Kapil Dev lifted the Prudential World Cup. But our focus was something different. It wasn’t at Lords but in the Oval, across the Thames on a dull cloudy afternoon in 1971 that the Indian Cricket finally found its voice and expression when Ray Illingworth’s England, were humbled by Ajit Wadekar’s team of dedicated boys,” they told Deccan Chronicle over telephone from USA.

    If BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya did not die, then this remarkable ceremony  in the USA  obviously creates rucksack in India. But, the untimely death of Dalmiya pacified the all those hot weather. Those who were alive among the legendary team had attended the function at the San Marino Club, Troy, Michigan. They were also saddened by the death of Dalmiya. Sunil Gavaskar wrote from that Dalmiya’s ready-made smile always fascinated him while Dilip Vengsarkar was also was in grief receiving the news that BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya was no more. But, the thing could be different, the pain of 45 years burst into anger if the situation could not deteriorate.

    The plight of 1970’s and 1980’s cricketer also came on the foray as  Farokh Engineer told the attendees at the auditorium. Indian cricket board was not a cash-rich body, so players used to get a little sum unlike the present scenario. The contemporary cricketers get 26 percent of BCCI annual income. 

    “We used to get daily allowance Rs 50 per day. We were playing unofficial Test against Sri Lanka. We were on the verge of winning the Test on the fourth day. But, someone came on the field and told us to play drag the into the fifth day. Otherwise, we will not get the allowance for the fifth day,”  Farokh Engineer was quoted as saying by a Bengali daily Anand Bazar Patrika, who reported this event from Troy.

    Even feudalism in Indian team created a problem for former captain Ajit Wadekar as players who played under the captaincy of Nawab Pataudi was finding it difficult to play under Waddekar, who  belonged to a middle-class family.

    “Even though all weren’t part of Wadekar’s team, Dilip Vengsarkar, Karsan Ghavri and Chetan Chauhan had been invited for their contribution to Indian cricket in the late 70s and 80s. The super talented Padmakar Shivalkar, who could not make it to the Indian Test team because of the reasons whatsoever, had also been invited for his silent contribution to Indian cricket,” added Anjan Mitra. 

    “We, however, missed cricket legends like Dilip Sardesai, Eknath Solkar, M.L.Jaisimha, Krishnamoorthy, Ashok Mankad and many others who are no longer with us. Gundappa Vishwanath and Abid Ali were not able to attend due to health reasons and/or prior commitments. Sadly, Jagmohan Dalmiya passed away few hours before the event, and we had observed “one-minute” silence before the event here at San Marino Club, Troy, Michigan,” he signed off. 

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