Record-setting, pioneering all-rounder

Vinoo Mankad bowls  

No Indian cricketer has set as many long-enduring Test records. Only a select few in the world have batted at all spots like he has.

And yet many Indians know little about him — much like Virender Sehwag, who admitted as much after having come close in 2005 to breaking his partnership record for the opening wicket.

Mulvantrai Himmatlal ‘Vinoo’ Mankad, born on April 12, 1917, was an accomplished all-rounder (right-hand batsman/slow left-arm orthodox) who played 44 Tests between 1946 and 1959, scored 2,109 runs, including five centuries, and took 162 wickets.

He captained the National team in 1955-56 and 1958-59. Vinoo was instrumental in India’s first Test victory (against England in Madras in 1952) by taking eight for 55 and four for 53.

His centuries include the first double ton by an Indian (his 231 against New Zealand at Madras in 1956 was the highest individual score by an Indian till Sunil Gavaskar broke it in 1983 in Madras with 236) and he was the first Indian to get 100 wickets, and had eight five-wicket hauls in an innings (including two eight-wicket hauls).

His 231 was part of a 413-run first-wicket partnership with Pankaj Roy, which remained the world record till 2008, and his double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in 23 matches stood for a quarter of a century before Ian Botham did it in fewer Tests.

The 1952 Test against England at Lord’s has gone down in folklore as ‘Mankad’s match’. The all-rounder scored 72 on the first day, bowled 73 overs in England’s first innings, taking five for 196, and then made 184, at the time India’s highest individual score in Test cricket, in just under five hours.

But the cruel cut of fate was the visitors lost by eight wickets.

Vinoo had his share of controversy too, lending his name to a form of dismissal. ‘Mankading’ became the Australian media’s term for the bowler running out the non-striker for backing up before the delivery, which he resorted to during the 1947-48 tour of Australia. Sir Donald Bradman defended him, however.

On his death in August 1978, Wisden termed him “one of the greatest all-rounders that India has ever produced” and said “for some years he was undoubtedly the best bowler of his type in the world.”

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 5:15:09 PM |

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