Friday, February 8, 2008

Remember the Titans---- Gundappa Viswanath

If one needed proof that statistics can sometimes be misleading, look no further than Gundappa Viswanath. While another little master of his time, Sunil Gavaskar, had a record that was a statisticians delight, Viswanath's record was nothing to drool over. But his contribution to the team as a crisis man was every bit as important as Gavaskar's. No wonder each of his 14 Test centuries either resulted in a victory or a draw for the team. Vishy had a number of shots in his repertoire but his most lethal and effective one was the thunderous square cut off the fast bowlers. He was equally adept at playing both spin and fast bowling and adjusted very well in all conditions. Two of his best innings came at the bouncy track of Madras. One was a match-winning 124 against West Indies in 1978-79. But his best ever and one of the most highly remembered innings was the 97 he made against West Indies in 1974-75. India was stuttering at 76 for 6 and Andy Roberts was breathing fire making a mockery of the Indian batting. In came Vishy and played a innings of such resolve and defiance that it eventually laid the foundation for an Indian victory. He was also highly renowned as a honest cricketer who believed in fair play. He recalled Bob Taylor to the crease in a match against England in 1979-80 even though he was given out by the umpire. India went on to lose that match but the spirit of the game won.

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