For all his titanic batting feats, Sunil Gavaskar doesn’t quite earn the automatic applause of Kannadigas, partly because, well, he batted left-handed against Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy match that Bombay was about to lose.
To provide a modern context, it’s that very very special, self-effacing, self-less feeling that Vangiurapu Venkatasai Laxman brings to a table where other giants also sup and dine.
The Delhi-born writer Mukul Kesavan (whose Mysorean-father B.S. Kesavan went on to head the national library) salutes genius of the Vishy and VVS kind that is beyond the usual adjectives of dazzling and brilliant, in The Telegraph, Calcutta:
“For many middle-aged men, including me, Sunil Gavaskar defines Indian batsmanship. But we all recognize that the modern era in Indian batting was inaugurated by Viswanath and sustained for a decade as much by his genius as Gavaskar’s.
“Diehards like Ramachandra Guha will go to their graves insisting in the face of all the evidence that Viswanath was, in terms of pure genius and certainly in terms of the pleasure he gave to those who watched, the better batsman.
“I once tried to persuade my father that Gavaskar was plainly the only Indian batsman of the Seventies who had a claim to greatness.
“He looked at me with the awful scorn that only age can summon and said: “I watched Duleep (K.S. Duleepsinhji) bat in 1934. I would catch a train to Eden Gardens to watch Vishy; I wouldn’t cross the street to watch that man-machine of yours.”
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