Born on 12 February 1949 at Bhadravati, Mysore, Gundappa Rangnath Vishwanath is accepted as one of the finest and most polished of batsmen India has produced. Right-handed middle order batsman, his square-cuts against the best bowlers in the world were worth going miles to see. ‘Vishy’, as he is better known, made his test debut with a hundred against Australia, at Kanpur, in 1969-70. He made his one-day international debut in the inaugural Prudential World Cup of 1974. He played his last test in Pakistan in 1982-3 and his final ODI in the Prudential Trophy series of 1982 in England.
Vishwanath played 91 tests and scored 6,080 runs at an average of 41.93 and scored 14 hundreds. A fine slip fielder, he held 63 catches. In 25 ODIs, he scored 439 runs at an average of 19.95.
Diminutive but strongly built, Vishwanath could cut the ball with the ferocity of karateka and his footwork was absolutely divine. He could defend well against top class pace, and step out in style to play classy shots against spinners. His 97 not out against Andy Roberts at Madras in 1974-5 will go down in cricketing history as one of the finest innings ever seen in a test match. He captained India in only one test match, the Golden Jubilee test in Mumbai, when he recalled Bob Taylor after the umpire had declared him out. India lost the test, but that was the way ‘Vishy’ played the game.
A gentleman to the core, and married to his best pal, Sunny Gavaskar’s sister, he is employed with the State Bank of India and has officiated as Match Referee at several venues all over the world.