He was a loner, but he was a good man,' said Nadkarni, who was among the seniors whom Pataudi had captained.
Pataudi was pitchforked into captaining the Indian team which had seniors like Polly Umrigar, Vijay Manjrekar and Nadkarni in it, when tour skipper Nari Contractor suffered a near-fatal skull injury in the early part of the disastrous series in the West Indies in 1962.
Contractor was felled by a nasty ball from Charlie Griffith in the game against Barbados at the Kensington Oval and battled for his life as the 21-year-old Pataudi took over the team's reins.
The team was drubbed 5-0, two of them by an innings, by the mighty West Indies side led by Frank Worrell.
Nadkarni said what amazes him even now is how Pataudi, whose father Iftekhar Ali also captained India on the 1946 tour of England after having represented that country earlier in Tests against Australia, could play cricket at the highest level so well even with the sort of physical handicaps he had.
'In those days international cricket was of a very high level and what amazes me is how he could carry on with three handicaps - he had one eye (the other having been lost in a car accident in England), one effective shoulder and one effective thigh - and play so well,' said Nadkarni.
Asked about Pataudi as a captain, Nadkarni said he was the first captain to instill a belief among the Indian players that foreign teams could be beaten.
Chandu Borde, who was Pataudi's deputy on the 1968 visit to Australia, described the death of his former captain as 'shocking.'
'It came as a shock to me,' said Borde who described the departed player as someone with a great sense of humour.
'We all thought at first he was a very reserved man after having been brought up in the UK but later on came to realise he was a fantastic guy with a great sense of humour,' said Borde.
'On that tour to Australia there was a late night party and he wanted to play a practical joke. He told me to come up to him during the party and ask when was he going back to India for his wife's birthday and I did so. Next day there was a heading in the newspaper. He was that kind of a man,' said Borde with a laugh.
Borde also said that when Pataudi took over as captain on the ill-fated Caribbean tour he had quite a few seniors playing under him but always gave them respect and also asked them for guidance.
Borde, who once captained the Indian squad in a Test in England in 1967 when Pataudi could not play, said that he was an outstanding fielder which was the reason for the nick-name he got - Tiger.
'He was well respected not only in India but also in other countries. He was also the first batsman to loft the ball when we were of the old school. Jai followed his example later,' he remembered.
Former captain Contractor also offered his condolences to Pataudi's family.
'My association with Pataudi was very brief. He did not play in the first two Tests and the tour match in West Indies and then I got injured,' Contractor said.
Former captain Ajit Wadekar, who made his debut under Pataudi against the West Indies in 1966-67 in Mumbai.
'It's very sad. (It's) too early to go. He was the greatest captain and a great batsman. He supported me when Madhav Mantri proposed my name to be in the Indian team against the West Indies (led by Garfield Sobers). He trusted me. We became good friends,' said Wadekar.
Sports Minister Ajay Maken condoled the death of Pataudi and said in a message from Beijing, 'the entire nation has lost a legend. May his soul rest in peace. My thoughts are with the family.'
He is survived by his wife Sharmila Tagore, his actor son Saif Ali Khan and his two daughters Soha and Saba Ali Khan. His entire family was at his bedside when the end came at 5.55 p.m yesterday.