Gundappa Viswanath: The Stylish Artisan of Indian Cricket, Turns 75

Gundappa Viswanath, the artisan of Indian cricket, turns 75 today, reflecting on a storied career filled with elegance and unmatched skill.

Gundappa Viswanath, the legendary Indian batter renowned for his elegant wristwork, celebrates his 75th birthday today. Born on February 12, 1942, in Bhadravathi, Karnataka, Viswanath carved his niche as one of India’s finest batters with a career steeped in grace and class.

His cricketing journey took flight with a double century on his first-class debut for Mysore (now Karnataka) in 1967-68. Viswanath’s Test debut against Australia in 1969 saw him score 137 in the second innings, marking the beginning of an illustrious career. In 91 Test matches, he amassed 6,080 runs at an average of 41.93, including 14 centuries and 35 fifties, with the unique distinction of scoring no centuries in Indian defeats.

Memorable knocks include a match-winning 97 against West Indies in 1974/75 and a resilient 124 against the same opponent in 1978/79. In ODIs, Viswanath played 25 matches, scoring 439 runs, and was part of India’s squads in the 1975 and 1979 Men’s ODI World Cups.

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Beyond his playing days, Viswanath served as an ICC match referee from 1999 to 2004. He contributed to Indian cricket as the Vice-President of the Karnataka State Cricket Association and chaired the national selectors from 1992 to 1996.

Acknowledged for his graceful square cut, Viswanath’s influence extended to coaching at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. He received the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and the Arjuna Award in 1977/78.

Post-retirement, Viswanath embraced roles as a commentator and cricket expert, contributing to Star Sports’ Kannada feed and penning his autobiography, ‘Wrist Assured,’ in 2022. Reflecting on his milestone birthday, Viswanath expressed gratitude, stating, “I’m looking forward to going further because being a cricketer, I always feel once you reach 50 and then 75, you look for the century.”

IANS