Who was the India’s most stylist, elegant and graceful batsman ever? Who is India’s best batsman on a wicket that had awkward bounce ? Who was the best player on a green top? Who was India’s Match winning batsman well my answer to all these questions is one G.R.Vishwanath. Among all the great Indian players that I saw in 70’s VISHY caught my imagination for the ease with which he batted. It was in 1972 I saw him score a hundred at Brabourne stadium. He appeared to me like an artist holding a paint brush instead of the Bat and the ground was his canvass. Every stroke in the book was played with a stamp of authority that was the Hallmark of his batting till he made an exit from the game. I dare say if Gavaskar was batting at his very best at Brabourne, Tendulkar at Wankhede and VISHY at D.Y.Patil I did walk to D.Y.Patil to watch the genius. VISHY and Sachin hold a special place in my heart for the simple reason that despite coming from middle class families they batted like millionaires. They were actually players who operated in the stock exchange where the risk element is very high but so are the gains.
VISHY won many a matches for India in fact on wickets where other could not even see the ball leave aside middling it. He would bat with tailenders and get those runs that ultimately helped India to win matches. What people fail to understand is he also helped India to draw many a matches from the threshold of a certain loss. Take his debut match century , the innings on a rank Turner against England at Kanpur, the century at Lord’s and the 83 and 79 on a bouncy Christchurch wicket just to name a few. Often players got a hundred and VISHY a brilliant 50 but he eclipsed the batsman who scored a 100. Ask any player to play his five best shots and let VISHY play one shot of his choice the execution would be of a different level all together. VISHY was not a batsman who the middle class and record crazy audience would understand. He was the first Indian batsman who batted like an Australian with aggression uppermost in his mind. People paid in black to watch him. VISHY never ever took time to settle down for the moment he took his gaurd at the wicket he gave an impression that he was at the wicket for hours. I always thought that his batting was magical for the sheer range of strokes he exhibited. It was perfection and artistry at it’s very best because the percentage of risk was very high in his batting. Am not surprised that Gavaskar, Pataudi, Kapil Dev, Bishan Bedi, Shrikant, Ravi Shastri , Azhar , Lillee, Andy Roberts, Clive Lloyd, Tony Greig, Greg Chappell rate him the very best amongst the best that they have seen. Two cricketers from India Ashok Malhotra and Sudhakar Rao tried to copy VISHY but than God produces only one VISHY. The Almighty never duplicates. India will have many a great players but there will be only one touch artist supreme G.R.Vishwanath. A very fine combination of immense talent , versatility and a great human being this genius reminds me of my all time great idol Rafisaab. Go for a hundred VISHY because whenever you scored a hundred the country has benefitted. Your existence will guide talented youngsters of the country. I was not surprised when you found out time to meet Prithvi Shaw at a match held in Banglore to share your pearls of wisdom with him. Sir thanks for all the entertainment. I SALUTE the MASTER.