Gundappa Viswanath is a former Indian batter known for his elegant wrist work and batting style. His prime focus was more on timing than power and is regarded as one of the brave batters against fast bowling. He is also one of the most loved Indian cricketers known for his true sportsmanship and integrity.Viswanaths family moved to Bangalore (now Bengaluru) when he was 5 years old. His interest in cricket rose when he saw his elder brother and neighbor S Krishna playing club cricket. His brother was a great fan of Australian cricket and use to wake Vishy up to listen to the cricket commentary when the Australian team was playing. He played his first cricket match for the Spartan Sports Club in the third division of the Mysore Cricket League. Actually, it was B. N. Chandrasekhar, a cricket promoter who watched him playing at the High School ground in Bangalore. He was completely fascinated with his batting and then told him, You come and play for Spartans Club. Vishy thought that the man was joking. But ultimately he was given a chance to play for the Spartan Sports Club. At that time, their captain asked Chandrasekhar Do you want to kill this poor kid? Dont you know that our opponents of today possess a couple of good fast bowlers? Young Vishy But Vishy proved him wrong and scored valuable 30 runs in his first match. Later that captain apologized to Chandrashekhar for underestimating the young Vishy. Sportstar From thereon, he became the permanent member of that squad and from hereon his cricket journey began.His second-best first-class performance came against the same team in 1969 against the visitor New Zealand team while playing for Indian Board Presidents XI. His team lost three wickets on the score of 28 runs when Viswanath added 99 runs with Chandu Borde and ended his inning with 68 runs. From there on, he was included in the national side in the playing 15 squads. He didnt wait much and soon made his international debut one month later against Bill Lawrys Australians. Vishy getting ready for the practice session.Due to his short height, he would face many obstacles in cricket during childhood. Even a Karnataka state junior team selector termed him as too short to play cricket. The News Minute But Viswanath kept on working hard and ultimately bagged the place on the Indian side and celebrated the success by scoring the century in his very first international game. Though, he got out on duck in the first inning of the same test match. After that inning, then team captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi advised him to stay relaxed and composed. As a result, when the Kanpur crowd were bracing themself with another team Indias collapse, similar to the previous test, Viswanath played with confidence against Alan Connolly who troubled him in the first inning. He started his inning with drives on both sides of the ground. On a famous cricket website, it was written, That day Viswanath played every stroke as if painting a precious masterpiece on a green canvas. Even a defensive push was a sight for sore eyes. When he drove or flicked, he never hit the ball, but gently guided it on its way. It was while essaying the square-cut that every ounce of his little frame went into the wallop, sending the ball screaming through the crowded point area. At the end of the day, Viswanath ended his score on 69 runs taking his team score to 204 for the loss of five wickets. The famous newspaper hailed his inning by saying, Hail Viswanath. He is the new star that has arrived to brighten our cricket horizon. The next morning he moved to 96 runs without any spot of bother. But for the next twenty minutes, he couldnt able to score a single run. Then finally, he played a square drive against Connolly and raised up his first hundred in the first test match of his career. In all, he scored 137 runs including 100 runs off the boundaries, and took his side to an emphatic win. Lieutenant colonel VR Mohan who was also an industrialist in Lucknow announced a reward of three gold medals priced at 1000 INR each to Viswanath, Ashok Mankad, and Paul Sheahan for their performances in the Kanpur match. CricketCountry After that inning, it took him quite a while to turn into a permanent member of the Indian team at number four. Later, he got selected in the Karnataka team for the Ranji trophy under the captaincy of Erapalli Prasanna where he scored the double century on his first-class debut. Gundappa Viswanath playing a shot.During one of the state junior tournaments, Vishy was not seen at the match till lunch. After lunch, he arrived with news that his pet dog has bitten him. That was the only domestic-level tournament that Vishy missed from the time he started playing professional cricket. He then played some fine innings in the P Ramachandra Rao Memorial Trophy. Gundappa Viswanath (extreme right sitting) posing before a match with his team between SBI and a local team.He was a member of the side when India won their first test match in England under the captaincy of Ajit Wadekar in 1971. Vishy (second from left sitting) along with his team posing before the tour to England in 1971 Still from the match where India registered their first-ever ODI win.When he scored a hundred against England at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai during the fifth test in 1973, Englands captain Tony Craig was so impressed with the stylish stroke play that he lifted him up and cradled him in appreciation. Sportstar In this match, Vishy scored 113 runs. Before that many critics were fearing that can Vishwanath play the innings as he played in his debut? Viswanath during an inning of 113 runs against England Tony Craig lifting Vishy up in February 1973.One of his best innings came against West Indies at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Madras (now Chennai) on 11 January 1975. Vishwanath scored unbeaten 97 runs out of the total 190 runs in the first innings while batting at the number four position against the bowling of Andy Roberts and Lance Gibbs. He also scored crucial 46 runs in the second inning and took his side to a win by 100 runs. It is regarded as one of the finest performances by an Indian. The Wisden 100 rates it as the 38th best inning of all time and second-best non-century. He also had the century (139 runs) in the previous test match of this series. Interestingly, he had a batting average of above 50 against the lights of Australia and the West Indies that are known for their strong pace attack. Viswanath during his knock of 97 runs.Some of his best batting performances include 112 runs scored at the Port of Spain in Trinidad. It was played on 7 April 1976 against the mighty Caribbeans where India bagged a victory by six wickets. India was chasing the target of 403 runs in the second innings. India lost their first and second wicket on 69 runs and 177 runs. And in walks Viswanath who held a match-winning partnership of 159 runs with Mohinder Amarnath and 56 runs with Brijesh Patel. It was the highest successful run chase during that time. Before that only Don Bradmans Invincibles (in 1948 against England) had chased over 400 to win a Test. Interestingly, it was in this match when lofting to a spinner started. CricketCountry About his inning, Tony Cozier; a Barbadian journalist wrote on Sportsweek magazine, Scroll.in Vishwanath looked a complete batsman with an exciting array of shots which he was never afraid to unleash. It was Vishwanath, who was unrelentingly severe on Holding and Julien. In another interview with a newspaper in 2016, Viswanath revealed, Sunil and Anshuman put on a useful 69. Then Jimmy and I had a good partnership (159) which was followed by some good batting by Brijesh Patel (49 not out). We only accelerated once Clive Lloyd took the new ball. Thats when the runs started flowing and that made us fancy our chances. It was a very fine victory. A prominent Indian journalist K. N. Prabhu wrote, It was a wise move to send Brijesh Patel ahead of Eknath Solkar. Patel, with his bristling mustache, looked like a Bombay pirate, and he played the part by plundering runs. Everything was grist to the mill mishits, byes and there were also some dazzling strokes as Patel and Amarnath raced each other. When Patel pulled Jumadeen to bring up the victory with six mandatory overs remaining, the crowd came racing to the pavilion, and the cheers of the Indian supporters echoed from the Northern Hills which towered over the skyline. Newspaper clip when India registered the highest chased test score against West Indies Viswanath playing an inning of 114 runs.His other notable test performance came against West Indies on 12 January 1979 at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Madras (now Chennai). In reply to the Caribbeans 228 runs in the first inning, India lost their early two wickets on 11 runs when Viswanath came to bat. He steadied the ship with a brilliant 124 runs on a bouncy wicket and earned the lead of 27 runs in the first innings. In the last inning, India required 125 runs to win on the last day which they won by losing seven wickets. Although, this West Indian side was considered weaker in comparison to the previous one as many of their players opted to play in the World Series cricket. Gundappa Viswanath playing a shot during the inning of 124 against West Indies in 1979 Gundappa Viswanaths Indian Test Match Cap from the 1979 tour of England.