Ashok Mankad happened to be the eldest son of Vinoo Mankad , the well-known cricketer. His awesome father who had participated for India in 44 Test matches, was the source of inspiration for Ashok, himself, and his other two brothers. Thus, his brother Rahul Mankad and Atul Mankad grew up as first class cricketers.
The young Mankad , in his teenage only, rose to prominence , by virtue of a fascinating chain of lofty scores in the Harris Shield . His inter-school tournament statistics of 348, 325 and 258 , fascilitated his graduation into the greater and prestigious arena of Bombay cricket squad and West Zone cricket team , for Under-19 tournaments. During his first year in college, he delegated the reputed the Bombay University in the Rohinton Baria Trophy . The man of merit obtained a 62 against Nagpur University, 131 against Karnataka and 152 against Madras in the final match. Mankad could give a due respect to his family-heritage of cricket-playing. Mankad appeared for the first time in first-class cricket, just a week prior to his seventeenth birthday.
Mankad fared quite well in first-class cricket . Simply in Ranji Trophy , he has attained a glamorous scorecard of 6619 runs , done at an average of 76.08 . He has a record of 22 charming centuries, with a the optimum score being, 265 against Delhi in the 1980-81 final.
In 1969-70, he was given the golden chance to take part in the Tests against New Zealand, for the Indian team. in 1969-70. The Selection Committee , headed by Vijay Merchant, opened the gateways to the team, for a lot of new players , during that particular season . In fact, Chetan Chauhan and Ajit Pai also executed their debut performance in the same match.
Unfortunately, his failure to create any indelible impression. He was not being able to secure thirty runs in any of the four innings against New Zealand, relegated him to the background. He was excluded from the team for the third Test.
However, he availed of the advantage, provided to him, when invited to play against Australia, merely a month later. He dazzled the cricketworld with his stunning improvement. His consistent batting brilliance yielded 74, 8, 64, 68 and 97 in his first five innings. Mankad batted at No.3 in the first Test . He created a radiant record of 146 for the fourth wicket in collaboration with Nawab of Pataudi.
However, when Mankad replaced Dilip Sardesai in the rest of the three Tests, Mankad acted as the opening batsman. He and Farokh Engineer , made a partnership of 111 and 43 at Bombay and 85 at Delhi . Despite striving in 15 more Tests till the end of his career, Mankad's efforts produced once a half-century, and a flashing 97 at Delhi, the highest elevation reached by him.
In the West Indies tour of 1971, Mankad built up a scintilliating joint-venture with the unrivalled Sunil Gavaskar in the series. Together, they hit 68, 74, 72 and 123 . But , performance-level of Mankad lapsed into insignificance, post the disappointing expedition of the Indian team in England in 1971. He left the assignment of opening in domestic cricket and returned to his comfort zone of batting in the middle order. He re-emerged in one Test against England in 1974 and later in another Test against West Indies in 1974-75, with continuous upward and downward movement , along the ladder of order. Though, he was absent in the dual tour of New Zealand and West Indies he made a comeback in the series , held against New Zealand in the native country, in 1976-77. He fared considerably well, but was rendered null-and-void for the moment, to be called back for the Test against England , sometimes later in that season. In the series, conducted in Australia in 1977-78 , he was on the rising with 508 runs, procured at a high average of 50.80. He was one of the top-average getters of India, then. But the small 119, at 23.80 in three Tests, gave an upper hand to Chetan Chauhan as the prospective partner of Gavaskar in this series.
Mankad did not forge further into another Test and completed his career with an aggregrate of 991 runs.
It must be mentioned, that the diligent Ashok Mankad, plunged into the thrill of a challenging career, and put the best of efforts, to pay a tribute to the name of his renowned father.
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