Saturday, August 2, 2008

Former India Test batsman Mankad dies aged 61

Former India Test batsman Ashok Mankad died in his sleep here on Friday aged 61, cricket officials said.

Mankad, regarded as a shrewd thinker of the game and one of India's finest domestic captains, played 22 Tests between 1969 and 1978 and scored 991 runs at an average of 25.41.

His record in first-class cricket was more impressive as he scored 12,980 runs at an average of 50.90 before retiring in 1982-83. He scored 44 in his only one-day international, against England at The Oval.

"Indian cricket lost one of its stalwarts when Ashok Mankad passed away early on Friday,"
Indian cricket board secretary Niranjan Shah said.

"He was a gifted batsman, an outstanding captain, and a respected cricket guru. An individual who dedicated his life to the sport, he will be missed by every single follower of cricket in this country,"
he said in a statement.

Board president Sharad Pawar said the country had lost one of its sharpest cricketing brains.

"Mankad had a great cricketing brain and was regarded by one and all as a great tactician,"
he said.

"His contribution and records in domestic cricket are unmatched."

The middle-order batsman, son of legendary Test all-rounder Vinoo Mankad, is survived by his wife Nirupama, a former national tennis champion, and two tennis-playing sons Mihir and Harsh.

Mankad also served as manager of the Indian cricket team in 1982-83 and coached first-class sides like his native Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh, Railways and Baroda.

Former India left-arm spinner Bapu Nadkarni said Mankad could not fulfil his potential because he was promoted as an opener.

Former India captain Ajit Wadekar also said Mankad could have done better had he continued as a middle-order batsman.

"He could have done better had he continued to play in the middle order. He was a great reader of the wicket and opposition.

"He was a perfect team man who kept his mates in good humour in the dressing room,"
Wadekar said.

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