VINOO MANKAD – The Legend

As you walk out of the cricket bunglow in Jamnagar and come on to the Bhidbhanjan road, there is a statue in bronze, depecting one of the greatest cricketer who originally belonged to Jamnagar- Saurshtra. Mulvantrai Himmatlal Mankad born on 12th April 1917, popularly known as Vinoo Mankad was son of this soil who not only made name of himself as an accomplished cricketer but also brought laurels for the country.

Vinoo Mankad who made his test match debut in 1946, went on to play 44 test matches for India in the career span of more than 13 years. He was a right hand batsman and a slow left arm spinner who scored more than 2100 test runs and took as many as 162 wickets. He was the architect of first test match victory for India against England in Chennai in 1952. He captured 12 wickets for India in that test match and ensured the famous win. Later in that year he appeared on the “honours board” of Lords cricket ground when he took 5 wickets and scored 184 in the same test match at Lords, the first player in 30 years to achieve that mile stone.

One of the record which remained intact for more than 52 years was Vinoo Mankad’s first wicket partnership with Pankaj Roy of 413 runs against Newzeland. He individually score 231 runs in that inning and it stood as the highest score by an Indian till 1983 when Sunil gavaskar scored 236 against West Indies on same venue.

Vinoo Mankad also played 233 first class matches and achieved some amazing and outstanding statistics. He scored 11591 first class runs and took 782 wickets. He played for Navanagar and WISCA in the first few years of Ranji Trophy, later he also represented Mumbai, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Bengal.

It was an era when cricket had a very little exposure and commercial value  embodied with it. But what Vinoo Mankad achieved in those times is unargueably unmatched. The grit, determination and skill he possesed and exhibited on the cricket pitch is an inspiration for the cricketers of this generation and the ones to follow. We will however always remember the Great Vinoo Mankad as our own kathiawadi and be proud of his excellent achievements.

- By Prakash Bhatt
 (Prominent Player and Former Captain of Saurashtra Ranji Team )