Gundappa Viswanath. (Twitter photo)
CHENNAI: Gundappa Viswanath has been one of the finest batsmen India has ever produced. He came to the limelight under the captaincy of EAS Prasanna for Karnataka and under Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi for India.
Asked about his quick graduation from domestic to international cricket, GR Viswanath said on Star Sports 1 Kannada show Diggajara Danthakathe, “Thanks to Prasanna who pushed for me initially. It helped me play for the state. Pataudi was playing for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy. As a part of the Karnataka team, we had to play against him. He (Pataudi) saw me closely there. For a match playing for President’s XI, New Zealand had come in 1968 and I got a chance to play. Chandu Borde was the captain and we had a good partnership. He [Chandu Borde] recommended me to Pataudi and that’s how I came into prominence much earlier than what I expected.”
GRV was known for his legendary square cuts and flick shots. He was also reputed to be a wristy player and experts from his playing days vouched for his strong technique, wherein he could play five different shots off the same ball. He scored a century in his debut match against Australia in Kanpur in 1969, the first of the 14 centuries he would go on to score in his illustrious career, spanning over 14 years.
GR Viswanath’s career ended abruptly after the series against Pakistan in 1982-83 where India lost the six match Test series.
Reflecting on that, he said, “I was very, very hurt when I was dropped. At that time, in all three times [innings] I made wrong decisions. It is part of the game. But in that [situation] in two innings, if I had scored well, they would not have removed me.”