Ashok Mankad 1946-2008 August 1, 2008

'Good morning, sir. I hope I'll get runs against you'

Cricinfo staff

Ashok Mankad, the former Indian batsman, died in his sleep early on Friday morning in Mumbai at the age of 61. Former Indian Test players pay tribute.

Ajit Wadekar: "Never did he [Mankad] shirk responsibility - he was a typical Mumbai guy, always thinking, and playing for the team" © Ashok Mankad

Ajit Wadekar, Mankad's Test captain
Despite being in bad form during the England series in 1971, Mankad never lost his sense of humour. Over the course of the tour he had difficulties coming to terms with the conditions and the England bowlers with John Snow being his main 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.

He was very young to pass away so soon. 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. Never did he shirk responsibility - he was a typical Mumbai guy, always thinking, and playing for the team. He was very knowledgeable about the game, be it spotting talent, or discussing technique. He was a keen student and also liked to work on the psychology aspect of cricket. He knew exactly where and when to tap the player or needle the opponent's weak point. All this made him an astute leader during his captaincy stint with Mumbai.

Erapalli Prasanna, Mankad's room-mate
It's a personal loss, in a way, because 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. His cricket gear would always be spic and span, everything would be where it should be from his attire to his pads and gloves. He worshiped his kit. 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 which was a great loss to Indian cricket. For example just look at the way he got Mumbai back from the dumps few years ago during their Ranji Trophy campaign.

Dilip Vengsarkar, Mankad's team-mate
He was one of the best batsmen of his era and had a very good cricket brain. A light-hearted man, he would always keep the dressing-room atmosphere lively with his banter and jokes. He was a very good team man. 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. A man of integrity, he did yeoman's service to Mumbai cricket, as a player, and as a captain.