Mumbai, Aug 8: Former England skipper Mike Gatting on Thursday (August 8) praised late Test player and selector Vijay Merchant, calling him a wonderful player, who adapted quickly in England on uncovered wickets.
Gatting was talking to reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of the CCI's Gate no 3 named after Merchant. He inaugurated the gate along with former India captain Nari Contractor.
"For someone like Merchant, who played a lot of his cricket here, to go the UK and play on uncovered wickets was remarkable. I have played on uncovered wickets and I know how difficult it can be. But there is a method to it," Gatting said.
"Merchant was a man who thought about it and was able to cope and adapt very quickly. Today you have a Virat Kohli doing that in England," he said. "Gates named after a cricketer is an enormous honour and Vijay Merchant was a wonderful player," Gatting added.
Merchant's daughter Aditi Santhanam said it was a befitting honour for her father for whom CCI was like a "second home". "All I can say is that I am very happy with this honour that has been bestowed on my father. Even though it has been a little late, it is really worth it. CCI was like a second home for him, his actual home came much later as he spent most of the time at CCI. It is a befitting tribute to him," said Aditi, who was present on the occasion along with CoA member Diana Eduljee.
Merchant had played 10 Test matches. He was also a cricket commentator and past president of the CCI from 1971 to 1985. Merchant is credited with naming former India skipper late Ajit Wadekar as the skipper for the 1971 England tour, which was eventually won by India.
Merchant passed away in 1987. In 2017, the CCI had named one of his gates after late Rajsingh Dungarpur, former BCCI president and national chief selector, who is credited for picking legendary Sachin Tendulkar into the national team for the first time.