In a facebook post on Thursday, Kulkarni said: “It would be great to see that the Wankhede Stadium stands are named after the three living legends of Kars (Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Vengsarkar). It would be great to see if they can add one more Kar at the Wankhede Stadium, who has not only made Mumbai proud, but the nation as well. He’s none other than the late Ajit Wadekar.”
Kulkarni called Wadekar “the first superstar of Indian cricket.” “Wadekar’s finest triple hundred for Mumbai (vs Karnataka) came against the best spinners in the world – Erapalli Prasanna and Bhagwat Chandrasekhar – and was a testimony of his class. Apart from leading India to three overseas Test series wins, he was the only Mumbai captain to lead Mumbai to four consecutive Ranji Trophy triumphs. His contribution as a player, captain, chairman of the national selection committee, India coach and then as an MCA administrator was just amazing. To me, he was the first superstar of Indian cricket.”
Kulkarni lauded the MCA’s decision to name a stand after Vengsarkar. “My heartiest congratulations to former India and Mumbai captain Dilip Vengsarkar for a stand to be named after him at the iconic Wankhede stadium. This ground has many outstanding memories. The first Test in 1974-75 was the decider against strong West Indies when both India and WI had 2-2 win. West Indies won this Test and the series but Wankhede Stadium will be remembered as the decider.
“Then India lifting the World Cup in 2011 under Dhoni at the same venue. I remember Vengsarkar scored a brilliant hundred at this venue against the best-ever pace attack (of the West Indies) of all time. A lively pitch, which had good bounce and carry, at the Wankhede Stadium, was always going to help our opponents more than the hosts. West Indies had Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall & co. That innings still remains in my mind as one the best played by Vengsarkar.
“The Wankhede Stadium has always been my favourite ground since I have played and witnessed many Ranji Trophy & Irani Cup matches with Mumbai team along with the greats of the game like Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, Tendulkar etc. I am also glad to know that the MCA has named a part of the North Stand after Vengsarkar. North Stand has the most knowledgeable crowds. I have witnessed this on many occasions. North Stand includes maidan cricketers, cricket followers with great cricketing sense and great observers of the game. I remember that while playing in the Ranji Trophy for Mumbai, if someone made any mistake or wasn’t giving his 100% in the match, it is the North Stand crowd which used to ‘wake’ that particular player or team up.
“Vengsarkar rightly deserves this honour and I congratulate the MCA Apex Council for recognizing his contribution to Mumbai cricket and to the game,” praised Kulkarni.