Gundappa Viswanath: The littlest master


Gundappa Viswanath remains one of the most loved of Indian cricketers. Be it the heady concoction of bewitchment and finesse in his stroke-play, or the simple amiability of his personality, he was the darling of the crowds during his playing days and has remained so ever since.

Often he was also the darling of his opponents. No, not only because as captain he recalled Bob Taylor, after the batsman had been given out in the Jubilee Test of 1980. England were surely grateful, especially since that led to great support for an Botham and finally a huge loss for India. However, Vishy was a nice enough man for opponents to love him even when they were on the receiving end of his brilliant blade.

For example Tony Greig. He spent most of the Brabourne Test of 1973 standing at silly point as the Karnataka maestro piled up runs. When the little fellow, all of five feet three inches, reached his century, the six feet six inches Greig picked him up and rocked him like a baby. The stadium erupted...

The hilarious photographs captured that day underlined the term 'little master'.

Gundappa Ranganath Viswanath was born on February 12, 1949.

Text: Arunabha Sengupta

Illustration: Maha