Indian cricket has seen a few stars and some more. But not one of them invokes the same beautiful feeling that Gundappa Ranganath Vishwanath does. Mention the name of the Boy from Bhadravathi and everybody—critics, contemporaries, friends, foes, rivals, relatives—break into an adjectival overdrive.
Five feet and two inches of timing. Team spirit. Style. Selflessness. Grit. Civility. And above all the gentlemanliness that lesser mortals can only aspire. What better way to mark the day Vishy turns 60 than to recount the genius in the words of his colleagues, compatriots and co-workers on the cricket field.
Sunil Gavaskar in DNA:
“Vishy played it tough without any overt show about it and played it fair. Look at the number of times he bailed out India out of a hopeless situation and took them to victory. He did it without thumping his chest or jumping up and down on getting to the century mark but with just a quick look up at the skies and then raising his bat shyly to applause that the crowd most spontaneously give him. In fact, no Indian player has warmed the cockles of the crowd’s heart as Vishy did. Those at the ground or those at the watching it on TV or hearing about it on radio would feel a sense of joy on Vishy’s achievements before or since has done.”
Bishen Singh Bedi in DNA:
“Vishy was a great team man and had an excellent sense of humour. I have not heard anyone say something bad about him. He was an artist and a gem of a batsman. He was like classical music of the highest order. I would say he was the Bhimsen Joshi or Ustad Allah Rakha of cricket. I remember the 97 knock against West Indies in Madras. What a knock it was. He is one batsman who cannot be compared to anyone else.”
Erapalli Anantarao Srinivas Prasanna in The Hindu:
“He has been one of the most outstanding batsman I have ever seen. It is also significant that in his birthday week, he was named for the C.K. Nayudu award.”
Anil Kumble in The Times of India:
“India has produced a number of profound batting stars, but I have often felt that Vishy never got his due, in spite of scoring over 6000 runs in Test match cricket. He did play during an era of former greats such as Sunil Gavaskar, and comparisons are never fair, but Vishy had carved his own niche among great batsman in India and around the world. Another prominent feature was his exemplary conduct and good nature, which has left a mark on anyone who has interacted with him, on or off the field. He constantly encouraged me during the period I was dropped from the Indian team, and guided me into maintaining self belief and determination.”
Rahul Dravid on rediff.com:
“He was a genius. All those great players who have played with and against him continue to rate him very high. I myself have seen videos and films of some of his outstanding innings. I must say he was an exceptional stroke-player. I think he was an artist with an unmistakable style of his own. He had terrific balance and you couldn’t find fault with his technique or shots.”
Anshuman Gaekwad in DNA:
“Vishy was a magical batsman to watch. We have had many partnerships. It was great to watch him from the other end. He could bat in any conditions. His most memorable knock was when Andy Roberts had come to India for the first time. India were 30 for 3 and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi got injured. Vishy and I were then involved in a 129-run partnership and in the end we won. It was a tremendous knock from him on a lively Eden Gardens wicket.”
Also read: The finest (English) passage on Karnataka?
Many Many Happy Returns of the Day Vishy.. You have made us proud by your outstanding performance and committment.
We wish you a very happy birthday..
Btw, I am also from Bhadravati
Wonderful tribute to a great artist.
Happy birth day sir.
Dear Vishy sir,
I have been following you since my highschool days. Your cricket & fighting spirit you showed on the field were fantastic and inspiring to generations of cricketers. Your behaviour on and off the field were immaculate. even when I started studying engineering in bangalore,I used to enjoy your batting in league matches SBI team. The affection you showed when I interacted with you ,brought teras in my years way back in 1982. Even afterwarads wheneever I met you in KGA golf cource or even at a traffic signal,the warmth shown by you in recognising a fan of yours were simply great. Sir,God bless you with long healthy life.You have given us a many many wonderful occassions in our life time to feel proud to be a Kannadiga and Indian God bless you sir.
I heard that vishy’s father used to scold him for not studying well in the school and for always playing cricket with his friends. Then his father did not know that vishy would turn out to be one of the best cricketers India ever produced. Vishy always used to play consistaintly, at the time of crisis. Vishy means powerful cover drives. During his time the cricket money craze had not reached this stage. But, he was always playing with responsibility and always put the country in strong position. You are turning 60 vishy. Many returns of the day. Long live vishy . But vishy never got the due share he deserved
Better late than never. 60….Golden Life…for you have to discount the firsat 10years. We, as Indian, Kannadigas are really proud of you,..for you played cricket for cricket’s sake and not for crores…Now, money matters, money speaks volumes. Posterity should learn the techniques of playing by watching the videos and really enjoy those strokes. Best of Luck, Vish!
I grew up adoring Vishwanath (Vish) just by hearing the illustrious commentators – starting from Lala Amarnath (speaking in his vintage English), Narottam Puri, Suresh Sariaya, Sushil Doshi etc. Hearing their commentary and visualising the strokes unleashed by Vishy was in itself a heart throbbing experience at my adolescent age.
When we got the Television for the first time and in 1980, I started watching the magician unleash a flurry of strokes on the grainy b/w television in a nearby neighbourhood house.
I remember, I went on a strike at home in 1982 refusing to have food unless we got the TV to our house because, Vishwanath was playing a Test Match in Bangalore! My father finally relented and got a TV in 5 days after booking it the same day!! It would be a lie if I said that I was not the happiest person around. It did not matter whether Vishy scored runs or not, I just wanted to see him in the crease.
Even today, when I see the recorded highlights of the matches played by Vishy, I just stay rooted to the TV. How I wish, Vishy becomes young and plays again – even if it is an exhibition match!
Vishy – May god bestow you a long life and being such a wonderful human being you are, I am sure you have a lot of things to contribute to Cricket and Humanity in particular.
God bless you, Vishy.
Vishy – The finest Indian cricketer , past and present, included. A gentleman cricketer of all -time.Wishing you a happy sixty and many more innings like the ones you played. Thank you for the immense pleasure you gave to the spectator, batsman at the other end and to the fielding team as well!
Vishwanath was a supreme artist. In all of us he evokes a feeling that perhaps we can never see a noble cricketer like him ever again. Like Vamana his stature belied his power and when occasion needed he rose to conquer with his awesome reach.
Happy Birthday Vishy Sir !!
May God bestow on you many more years of happy,prosperous and blissful life
Many many Happy returns of the day. I am proud of you. Naanu Bhadravathi kandaa.!!
thanks churumuri for this post..its touching and gives a fine feeling about Vishy the great..the tributes too are genuine and adds to the post..
I am digressing. But want Churumuri to know that the editor of The Statesman in the communist ruled West Bengal has been arrested for offending the religious sentiment of a minority community which the mainstream media did not report or dismissed it in one para.
Compare this with how the leftists and secular zealots reacted when the karavali ale editor was arrested in the BJP ruled Karnataka on similar charges for hurting the Jains ? Hope there will be a well-informed debate on this.
Most probably only major Indian player who does not have any enemy.
Great player. Great soul.
I’m having a hard time getting links to video clips of Vishy batting, especially the 97 not out at Madras, I have heard so much about it. Can someone post the links ? Thanks..
Vishy’s humility touches anyone who meets him. Old timers from Mysore/Bangalore go into raptures talking about his batting exploits and they would have heard them only on the radio as TV was not available till 1981 in Bangalore and ’84 in Mysore. Long live Vishy.
I have seen Vish’s 222 and 124 at Chepauk. But what would I give to have been there for his 97 not out? I remember watching Vish through the binoculars for over after his over on his 124, just to see him roll his wrists, and then I realized I was missing his footwork. A lot has been said about Sachin’s anticipation. But remember Vish was doing this when they didn’t wear helmets and the margin of error was next to nothing. I have also seen Kapil hook that Imran bouncer for a six. Those were the days! But how come we aren’t talking of Vish on the golf course? The genial gentleman on the course with whom you can play a couple of holes even if you have a lousy handicap. They don’t make ’em like him any longer. Abiding memory – the 3 Amritraj bothers jumping up and down like wild kids cheering Vish’s epic 222. And Vijay later on saying, “I flew back from the US just to see this. I am not disappointed.” And Gavaskar emerging from the Madras Cricket Club squash court at 7 pm that evening after his 166 vs. Pakistan earlier that day where he played every stroke in the book and more.
Glad to share the same birth town ‘Bhadravati’.
Used to go to VISL Stadium to catch a glimpse of you and Brijesh Patel and host of other Ranji stars in the seventies. You and Brijesh Patel had come on motorcycle from Shimoga to cheer your Ranji friends Sudhakarao, Roger Binny, Jayaprakash and others whow were playing in VISL stadium.
Heard tales about you from your aunt who was our neighbor.Heard you used to visit her in Bhadravati.
Just immensly proud of a great son of Karnataka. I remember the days when I used to stay up in the night to listen to the running commentary when you would playing in WI.
Happy birthday Vishy !
Happy Birthday Vishy Sir!! and hearty congrats for being awarded the Col CKN trophy.
The artistry can never be matched…undoubtedly the GREATEST WIZARD OF THE BAT, your humility on and off the field is a shining example for every cricketer today to follow
Was very sad when you lost out in the KSCA election due to money power.of each and every cricketer
God bless you Sir, cricket needs people like you
May god bestow you a long life and being such a wonderful human being you are, I am sure you have so much to contribute to Cricket.
I remember seeing him in our VISL stadium.Our Birthday wishes to him.
When I was studying 8th, I was introduced to cricket. The first match I heard in radio commentary was Vishy’s debut test. His century in the second innings enthralled the school boy in me. From then onwards I became an ardent fan of him. What a disciplined innings in chasing the England in Oval for our historic win in 1971. When he was about to be dropped, in 1973, against Lewis led English team, his 70+ innings in his favourite Greenpark, Kanpur, saved India from a possible defeat. I still have green memories of the epic series of India vs. W’Indies, 1974-75, by when I am a college student. Virtually, the series was a clash between a young tear away Roberts & an artist Vishy. Oh, those days were golden cricket days. His 127 in Kolkatta and 97 n.o. put him above the then greats Creg, Sunil and Vivian. His 80+ innings in Christchurch, in a pitch where the ball talked, in 1976 was a poetry. The famous second innings chase & win in Trinidad was largely due to his dominance over Holding on his way to century. His chemistry with Kanpur again resulted in a Century against Kiwis in the same year, followed by another gem of 80 + innings in Chepauk. In a disappointing series against Creig led English, 1976-77, the only win for us in Banglore was due to Vishy’s fifties in both the innings. His consistency against Aussies in 1978 was remarkable with five consecutive 50 + innings in the last 3 tests. His century against Pak in Faisalabad was a poetry. Even though the 1978 series saw Gavaskar in Bradman-like form, the only win in that series in Chepauk was again due to Vishy’s another epic knock of 125 in a fiery green top, where almost all others failed. Along with Vengsarkar, he also produced a match saving century, which initially earned M.O.M. award, which then went to Dilip. The Great Escape via Melbourne in Australia, 1981 was possible only because of his first innings century against Lillee & Co. He played a crucial match winning 36 in Bombay, a match saving 100+ in Delhi, a wristy 222 in Chepak and usual 80+ in Kanpur against Fletcher led English. After an average performance in English summer, 82, he met his waterloo in Pakistan, where a highly charged Imran ran through against India, barring Mohinder. When today lesser mortals are continuing in the team in spite of many failures, the greatest batsman ever produced by India was axed for ever, for just one series failure. Then that is our India. However, I am happy, Vishy is still remembered for his matchless glorious deeds with willow. I still long to see the video of his great knocks. Can any one help please?
it makes me proud that i hail from bhadravathi when we also also realise that one of india’s finest batsman G.R.VISHWANATH was born in the STEELCITY bhadravathi.kudos,,,
I am glad VVS doesn’t have to to be subjected to such mush
on captive portals.Though.I would like to place them in the same
class or may be VVS in a better one, I really envy the AP wallahs
and VVS in particular can go about their job in peace without
having to read to such uncritical, insightless tripe.May be the
kaannada critics have a point.
One of the finest batsmen the cricket world has ever seen and one of the gentlest human beings the planet has seen. Long live Vishwa
Most delightful batsman to watch in crisis situation,and extremely wonderful human being to have adorned the game.