Former cricketers pay tribute to Ashok Mankad

August 1st, 2008 - 10:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 1 (IANS) Former Indian cricketers paid rich tribute to Ashok Mankad, who died here Friday, describing him as a prolific scorer in domestic cricket and possessing great tactical acumen in the game. They also said that Mankad never lost his sense of humour even though he was unfortunate not to play too many international matches for the country despite a good domestic record.

Mankad, 61, had been a feared first-class cricketer, but with a modest Test record. He played only 22 Tests between 1969 and 1978, scoring 991 runs, and a solitary One-Day International.

Ajit Wadekar recalled the historic 1971 series of England which India won immediately after winning their maiden series in West Indies.

“Mankad never lost his sense of humour despite being in bad form during the England series in 1971. He had difficulties coming to terms with the conditions in England. John Snow turned out to be his nemesis. But each time Mankad would do one thing without fail: he would walk up to Snow and greet him “Good morning, sir. I’m Ashok Mankad. I hope I’ll get runs against you,” and he would get out early. He knew how to enjoy the game,” Wadekar was quoted in a cricket website.

“He was a damn good player and a prolific scorer. He could have played more Tests for India if he had not been asked to change his role in the batting order so frequently,” he said.

One of India’s finest spinner Erapalli Prasanna described Mankad as a committed cricketer with a great cricketing brain.

“He was my room-mate on several tours. The one thing that always impressed me about him was his attention to detail. He was precise even with the minor stuff. All this proved he was a committed cricketer. He was an illustrious son of an illustrious father. He had a wonderful cricket brain that, sadly, the administrators never utilised properly.”

“He was a typical Mumbai guy, always thinking, and playing for the team. He got Mumbai back from the dumps a few years ago during their Ranji Trophy campaign,” he said.

Dilip Vengsarkar called Mankad as one of the best batsman of his era.

“He would always keep the dressing-room atmosphere lively with his banter and jokes. When I scored my maiden century in the Irani Trophy, he was at the non-striker’s end. We were chasing a 200-plus target and I made the bulk of the runs. Mankad had made only a few but he stood there keeping the partnership intact. He did yeoman’s service to Mumbai cricket, as a player, and as a captain.”

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