Ajit Wadekar feels the celebrity honour would not have come to him in 1971 if the then chairman of the national selection committee Vijay Merchant had not used his casting vote in his favour.

Remembering Merchant on his 101st birth anniversary celebration at the Legend’s Club meeting at the C.K. Nayudu Hall, Cricket Club of India on Friday evening, Wadekar said: “Had Vijaybhai not used the casting vote in may favour, I don’t think I would have captained India in 1971 and hence I would not have got the opportunity to win the series in the West Indies and England.

“Our offices were opposite to each other and I wanted to visit and thank him personally the day after I was made captain. But he called me to his office and said that although he gave me his casting vote it did not mean that he liked me and that he would like me only if I won matches for India. He also introduced me to the world of the visually impaired and spastics.”

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