Poetry on the sector and humility off it at all times outlined Gundappa Vishwanath. Short in top however excessive in stature, Vishwanath blended aesthetics with a steely resolve and his square-cuts and a few epochal knocks have gained a classical aura.
To be at a floor or any venue in Bengaluru and see the awe he generates, is a pointer to that everlasting fact — respect is earned. Through his exploits with the bat and his endearing conduct, Vishwanath, Vishy or GRV to his followers, has a permanent presence in India’s cricketing historical past.
His is a narrative that wanted to be advised however there was an issue. Vishwanath is famously reticent, he would somewhat say a ‘hello boss’ and deal with different cricketers somewhat than talk about himself. Among his circle of buddies, he can mild up lengthy nights however would like limelight to dissipate as a substitute of lingering on him.
Seen in that mild, a ebook, Wrist Assured, from him in affiliation with senior cricket author R. Kaushik, is nothing wanting a miracle. And credit score is because of Kaushik for nudging Vishwanath to mine his recollections and the result’s a literary endeavour that throws mild on not solely an ideal batter but additionally paints a candid image of the willow sport within the Sixties, ’70s and ’80s. Equally, Vishwanath shares his inputs on gamers starting from his brother-in-law Sunil Gavaskar to Virat Kohli with many nationwide and abroad stars making a mark in his wondrous listing.
Hailing from Bhadravathi earlier than shifting to Bangalore, Vishwanath initially tried his hand at tennis ball cricket earlier than transferring onto the crimson cherry whereas turning out for Spartans and later State Bank of India within the native league. With Chandra Shetty being an preliminary patron, Vishwanath was by no means wanting assist.
A Ranji century on debut, a double ton at that towards Andhra, marked him out for larger achievements. The transition was easy and serving to him alongside the best way was the then Indian skipper Tiger Pataudi. Yet in his first innings for the nation at Kanpur, Vishwanath was dismissed for a duck. “I didn’t know if I would play for India again,” he writes.
However, a dream wasn’t about to die and Vishwanath struck the Aussies for 137 priceless runs within the second innings. A Test hundred on debut and this after Pataudi advised him: “You will get a hundred. Don’t be tense.” A star was born in 1969 and with Gavaskar becoming a member of the ranks in 1971, India had two unbelievable batters.
Close to his coronary heart
Through the ebook, Kaushik attracts upon Vishwanath’s clear observations and dry humour, and that allied with the maestro’s sense of marvel, makes it a beautiful learn. The highs of 1971, his beautiful unbeaten 97 towards the West Indies at Madras, the well-known incident of recalling Bob Taylor on the Jubilee Test in Bombay, the science behind his jaw-dropping square-cuts, the notes about one other shot nearer to his coronary heart, and the eventual twilight throughout the Pakistan tour of 1983, are all there throughout the 267 pages.
This is a wonderful ebook and having earlier penned 281 and Beyond on V.V.S. Laxman, Kaushik has change into the official chronicler of batters, who’re pleasing on the attention and trigger hearts to flutter.
Wrist Assured; Gundappa Vishwanath with R. Kaushik, Rupa Publications, ₹595.