Gundappa Viswanath, widely regarded as one of the greatest batsman of his era, celebrates his 71st birthday on February 12, 2020 (Wednesday). Viswanath, who made his international cricket debut against Australia in 1969, represented India in 91 Test matches and 25 ODIs, which included two World Cup appearances. A batting wizard on his days, Viswanath was popularly nicknamed “Vishy”. He was a master of wristy batting and no one, Mohammad Azharuddin and VVS Laxman came close, in Indian cricket circuit have since resembled his batting technique. As Gundappa Ranganath Viswanath celebrates his 71st birthday, take a look at some lesser-known facts about him.
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Viswanath made his international debut against Australia at Kanpur in 1969 and made a duck on his debut innings. But followed it up with a century in the second innings making him one of the only four batsmen to have done it on a Test debut. Viswanath was also among the rare players to score a hundred in both his maiden first-class innings and his first Test innings. In his 91-match Test career, Viswanath scored 14 Test centuries and 35 half-centuries. Of those 14 Test hundreds, 13 came on winning occasions while another was a draw.
- Gundappa Viswanath was born in Bhadravathi, Mysore on February 12, 1949
- Gundappa Viswanath Scored a Century on his Ranji Trophy debut for Karnataka
- Viswanath holds the rare record of scoring a hundred on First-class and Test Debut
- He was the first batsman ever to score a duck and hundred on his Test Debut
- India never lost when Viswanath scored a Test century, of his 14 Test hundreds, 13 came on winning occasions and one was a draw
- Gundappa Viswanath was part of the 1976 Indian team that completed a world record chase of 403 runs against the mighty West Indies, a record that stood for 27 years
- Viswanath was bestowed the Col. C K Naidu Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009
- Gundappa Viswanath was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1977-78
Viswanath also had the opportunity of captaining the Indian team although it lasted for just two matches. He was appointed the Indian Test team captain in 1979-80 and captained in two matches, one of which was a draw and another a defeat. The loss came against England in the Golden Jubilee Test. But despite the defeat, Viswanath left his mark in the game with a brilliant gesture to uphold fair play and recall Bob Taylor, who was wrongly adjudged out by the on-field umpire. England were rattling at 67/5 at that stage and Taylor later went to stitch a mammoth partnership with Ian Botham. The pair rescued England and later England went on to win the match. Happy Birthday Gundappa Viswanath!