Mumbai:Former Test cricketers Ajit Wadekar, Chandu Borde and Bapu Nadkarni on Friday reacted with shock and dismay at the sudden demise of Ashok Mankad.
Mankad, 61, died in his sleep at his residence in Worli, South Mumbai, early on Friday.
"He was a wonderful middle order batsman who was not allowed to fulfil his potential in his Test career because he was converted into an opening batsman for which he was not well equipped," said former left-arm spinner Nadkarni, under whom Mankad made his first class debut for Mumbai.
"As a middle order batsman he was solid, on the lines of Polly Umrigar and Chandu Borde. But he got converted into an opener and succeeded too initially. But I always thought he did not have it in him to be an opener," he said.
"He was also a fine captain, a good tactician and a very knowledgeable cricketer. Fate has been so cruel to him," Nadkarni rued.
Former Test skipper and his one-time Ranji and West Zone teammate Ajit Wadekar, while expressing shock at Mankad's death, also said Mankad could have done far better in Test cricket had he continued in the middle order.
"It's too early for him to depart from us. Perhaps he could have done better had he continued to play in the middle order." "He was a perfect team man who kept the team members in good humour in the dressing room. It created a great atmosphere in the dressing room when the team was in trouble in the West Indies and England in 1971," the former left- handed batsman said.