ENTERTAINMENT  :   Cricketing Gems

Mankads – The father-son duo who represented India

Saturday , 30 January 2016

Another father-son duo who played for India in test cricket… in different eras

Vinoo Mankad was one of the finest all-rounders to have played test cricket for India, specially during the pre-80s era

Like the Pataudis, Amarnaths and Manjrekars, Vinoo and Ashok Mankad too donned the Indian colours for India. The father certainly, being the more accomplished and famous of the two, as he also had the distinction of leading the Indian test cricket team in the 1954-1955 away series, against Pakistan.

Let us take peek into the lives and careers of these two renowned cricketers, who played for their country and contributed significantly to Indian cricket, in their own right…one as a great all-rounder and the other as an opening batsman.

Vinoo Mankad

Arguably one of the greatest all-rounders India produced, pre-the 1980s, Vinoo Mankad, born on April 12, 1917, burst on the first class cricket scene in 1935. However, he rose to prominence in the 1937- 38 seasons against Lord Tennyson’s team. Mankad’s batting average in the unofficial tests was an impressive 62.66, while his bowling average was even more sensational – 14.53.

In 1946, after World War II, playing for India in England, Vinoo Mankad amassed 1120 runs and took 129 wickets. He holds the record of being the only Indian to have accomplished this feat… as a matter of fact, no member of a touring side has ever been able to eclipse this achievement, thus far.

Vinoo made his debut in Test cricket at Lord’s against England, as an opening batsman and a left arm orthodox spinner, on June 22, 1946. He top scored in the second innings scoring 63 runs and also took a total of 5 wickets in the match, which India went on to loose. However, with his decent-all-round performance in this test, he secured a permanent spot for himself, in the Indian cricket team.

One of his greatest moments came in 1952, when playing against England at Lord’s he smashed 72 runs in the first innings and followed-it up with 184 in the second. In addition, he also bowled 97 overs in the match, returning a figure of 5 for 231. Although India lost the test match by 8 wickets, Mankad’s performance with the bat must rank, among the greatest ever, by a member of a losing side.

His most memorable moment in test cricket came in 1952, when India registered its first ever test victory, against England in the Madras. Vinoo Mankad almost single-handedly won the test for India, by taking 8 for 55 in the first innings and following it up with 4 for 53 in the second. This great feat was achieved by him, on a pitch, which hardly provided any assistance to spinners.

Vinoo Mankad, however, will most famously be remembered for featuring in the highest opening wicket partnership of 413, along with Pankaj Roy in the 1955-56 series, against the touring New Zealand side. He scored 231 in this Madras test, which was the highest individual score by an Indian batsman in test cricket. This record was only broken 27 years later, by Sunil Gavaskar in the 1983. The Mankad-Roy partnership, however, stood unbroken for 52 long years.

In his illustrious test career stretching from 1946 to 1959 he played in 44 test matches, scoring 2109 runs at a modest average of 31.47. This included 5 centuries and 6 half-centuries. With the ball, his record is a lot more impressive. He bagged 162 wickets, including eight 5-wicket and two 10-wicket hauls.

On the other hand, Vinoo Mankad played 233 first class matches from 1935 to 1962, amassing 11,591 runs including 26 centuries and 52 half centuries. He bagged 782 wickets, at an excellent average of 24.53. Thirty eight times he returned figures of 5 wickets or more in an innings; and eight times he took 10-wicket-plus hauls, in a match.

This renowned Indian all-rounder who contributed immensely to Indian cricket in its early days, passed away at a relatively young age of 61, on August 21, 1978.

Ashok Mankad

Ashok Mankad, though promising, under-performed, specially in test matches

Born on October 12, 1946, Ashok Mankad followed in his father’s foot-steps. After scoring prolifically, smashing knocks of 348, 325 and 258 runs in Inter-school tournament, he was selected for Bombay and West Zone under – 19 teams. He also hit a string of centuries in inter-university tournament, which led to his selection in first class cricket at a young age of 17.

Despite his modest performances in domestic cricket, he was strangely selected in the test team against New Zealand, in the 1969-70 series. He failed to reach a score of even 30, in the first four innings, as a result of which he was dropped in the third test.

However, ‘luck’ was on his side. Despite his poor performances against the Kiwis, he was again selected to play against Australia, a month later. This time, however, Ashok Mankad justified the selector’s confidence in him. Batting at no.3 spot he scored 74 and 8 in the first test and shared a 146-run partnership with his captain Tiger Pataudi for the 4th wicket. In the next three matches, he opened the innings for India, and scored 64, 68 and 97 in the first three innings, of the remaining three test matches.

However, after this bright phase, though, Ashok Mankad featured in 15 more tests, he managed to score only one more half-century. Thus, his score of 97 in the Delhi test against Australia, will remain his highest in test cricket.

The high point of this career, however, came in 1976-77 Ranji Trophy season. He amassed 827 runs at an extraordinary average of 206. He hit successive double centuries against Maharashthra (203 no) and Haryana (208 no). He eclipsed Ajit Wadekar’s record of the highest aggregate in a tournament.  Ashok Mankad also scored 508 runs, at an impressive average of 50.80 in tour matches against Australia in the same season, but failed to make an impression in all three tests he played, aggregating only 119 at an average of 23.80.

Ashok’s 19-year career in first class cricket was a lot more than impressive. He aggregated 12,980 runs from 218 matches, at an average of 50.90, including 31 centuries and 70 half centuries; with a career-best score of 265. He typifies a group of promising and talented Indian cricketers, who were unable to transcend from first class cricket into test cricket successfully. Ashok Mankad’s test record reflects this quite clearly. In 22 tests, he managed to score only 991 runs at a disappointing average of 25.41. He has only 6 test half centuries in all, to his credit.

Like his illustrious father, he too passed away in his sleep on August 1, 2008, at a relatively young age of 61.

Rahul and Atul Mankad

Like their great father and brother Ashok, Rahul and Atul too played first class cricket. While the former’s career playing for Shaurashtra was way too brief (3 matches), the latter (Atul) had a longer stint, playing for Bombay in 47 matches. He scored 2,111 runs at decent average of 35.77, including five centuries and twelve half centuries, with a top score 162.

The Mankads, especially Vinoo and Ashok, will always figure in the history of Indian test cricket. The former, obviously, will be remembered as one of finest Indian all-rounders.