Mumbai: Former India Test batsman Ashok Mankad passed away in his sleep at his Mumbai residence. He was 61 years old.
Mankad, regarded as a shrewd thinker of the game and one of India’s finest 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.
“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,” Indian cricket board secretary Niranjan said in a statement.
Board president Sharad Pawar said the country had lost one of its sharpest cricketing brains.
Son of legendary Test all-rounder Vinoo Mankad
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.
“He was a wonderful batsman but he was not allowed to fulfil his potential because he was converted into an opener for which he was not well equipped,” Nadkarni told AFP.
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.