Former India skipper Ajit Wadekar today paid glowing tributes to his ex-Test and
first-class teammate Dilip Sardesai, who died here last night, giving him
a major credit for the historic wins over the West Indies and England
"It has been one long partnership lasting more than 15 years on the cricket
field with Sardya. He used to call me Jitya. If we won the Test series in 1971
in the West Indies, 90 per cent of the credit belongs to Dilip," said the
former left-handed batsman, who was the captained in the two series.
Sardesai's 642 runs in that series in the Caribbean went a
long way in fetching India's first-ever win there and second overall overseas
and was second only to then debutant Sunil Gavaskar's monumental tally of 774
(rpt 774) runs.
"He also played a crucial role in the Test victory at
the Oval of the same year against England (and consequently the series win)
and his two knocks in the Test, both fifties, helped bind the innings and ensured
victory," Wadekar recalled.
About his contribution on the 1971 Caribbean visit, which should
go down in the annals of Indian cricket as something very special, Wadekar said
Sardesai's double hundred in the series opener gave the team the requisite confidence
to do well against the legendary Gary Sobers-led West Indies outfit.
"It was his double hundred in the first Test that gave
us tremendous confidence and then he continued in that vein right through. That
phase saw him at his best as a batsman. He almost reproduced that in England
too," the ex-India captain said.