The diminutive Indian batting maestro, Gundappa Vishwanath has always been a private man. During his long international career he hated appearing at public functions and preferred the security of the dressing room when he was not batting or fielding in a test match. He was however quite a humorous person with those he knew well.
In the late ‘eighties, he was forced by one of his former Indian teammates to be chief guest at a function in Mumbai, in a predominantly Marathi speaking area. Vishwanath suffered the speeches, the bouquets and the presentations with customary ease. But when it was his turn to address the gathering, the master batsman got up and spoke for five minutes in chaste Kannada!
The organizers as well as the audience were perplexed. None of them could understand what he had said. When one of the guests asked Viswanath why he spoke in Kannada, he replied without batting an eyelid, “If you can speak in Marathi – a language that I don’t understand - for one hour, can’t I make things even by speaking in my mother tongue for five minutes?”
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