Indian cricket radio star killed by television

Gundappa Viswanath was a favorite of Indian cricket in the age of radio, but when the television revolution began with the 1983 World Cup, the curtains fell on his career. He will soon be watching all the Indian matches on television, thinking with a dose of self-pity and nostalgia that he could have done better than the new number 4.

“I just failed to get into the 1983 World Cup national team,” Viswanath, the world’s second-largest player in the 1970s, told The Bridge.

“I thought I could be kicked out of the test team after the 1982/83 Pakistani series, but since I was known as the ‘creator of the stroke’, I would still join the ODI team. But that didn’t happen,” he said.

Many do not remember that Viswanath was almost literally the 15th member of the 1983 team, who stood behind the curtain. He was in the Indian locker room during the finals at the Lord and the late night celebrations that followed. But when the match was taking place and the rings of prominent places for the descendants were being filmed, he was trying to stay out of sight. It’s not very difficult, considering its 5’3 inch frame.

Man Singh, our manager, asked me to join the team bus and watch the game from the locker room. But I watched the match as if you were * watching * the finals. Most of the time I tried to be away from the locker room, which stands a bit outside. of them asking me to join them, but I wasn’t part of the team, ”he said.

Like any other spectator, Viswanath remembers capturing the Chapel of the Devas to dismiss Viv Richards as the moment the “Indian team” began to believe.

This World Cup victory would be just the beginning of an era when Indian cricketers would become constantly present in Indian households via satellite television and later YouTube reels, including Viswanath. But for the 33-year-old, it was a sign that international cricket was no longer using his services.

“When you play for so long, the game stays with you. When you see an Indian striker – especially striker number 4 – playing punch, you think you could have done the same thing, but maybe better,” Viswanath recalled of a couple of painful years of watching television after they dropped out of the national team.

“I went through that phase quickly, I enjoyed watching so many No. 4 hitters since then,” he said, his gaze wandering into the distance.

Vishy still keeps his closest estimate for No. 4. After all, Tiger Pataudi himself dropped in the rankings to 5 to adjust to him on his 1969 debut No. 4 for the Indian test team. Vishy took the badge of honor to heart, to remain a part of his identity forever.

Reverse swing: A PAK tour that ended Viswanath’s IND career

Appropriate to the tragic scenario of a pre-television era star set aside by the advent of satellites, Viswanath’s latest series was a highly controversial tour of Pakistan in 1982/83, where he fell victim to some dubious home judge decisions and some ‘reverse momentum’. of Imran Khan and Sarfaraz Nawaz.

“I didn’t expect my international career to be hit at the start of the tour, it was long. You talk about reverse swing or something, but no one has experienced anything so amazing before. A new ball never swung towards them. Right after the drinking break the ball “She started to swing in both directions. No one noticed it then. We later learned that they used Coca Cola corks to work on the ball during a drinking break,” he said of his latest tour in Indian colors.

“One of the balls I came out of Imran threw on the 8th or 9th stump and then came back to hit the middle and leg. I can’t explain it more than that,” Viswanath smiled.

Slow zoomed reruns in which such ball ‘maintenance’ practices would be caught were on the way, but Viswanath would not benefit from them. The art of his dazzling square cuts – and even a ‘helicopter shot’ – would have to continue to draw authority mostly from radio commentary.

“I can’t find too many of my kicks on YouTube. Those who are there only show one or two videos,” he said.

Even if they were more comprehensive, such accents could never convey what Viswanath meant to India, the hope that his name infused enthusiastic radio listeners. Most of his best shots came when the first row failed. ‘A boy standing on a burning deck,’ a newspaper report describes him.

In 1983, it became clear that the radio star would not be moving to television.

‘1971. a milestone for India in tests’

Sunil Gavaskar, his roommate in the historic summer of 1971, his brother-in-law and the person with whom Viswanath shared ‘the greatest partnership of his life’, adapted to the ODI format well enough to make the 1983 ship, but Viswanath missed it.

“I’m sorry, yes. I mean, I never felt like I never wanted to play ODI, but compared to test cricket … Test cricket was simply the best for me,” he said.

“I never felt the seriousness of ODI, it didn’t touch the emotional advance that Test Cricket did … I didn’t believe it was the right thing to do, so it was hard for me to prepare for battle like a test match,” Viswanath wrote in her recent autobiography. Wrist securedbrought by Rupa Publications.

Gavaskar, who has since moved imperceptibly into the comment box as the television age entered the social media era, once joked that whenever he had a stick with Viswanath, they would never talk about cricket between listening, but about domestic things. For example, how much did the school whose child paid enrollment pay.

Viswanath disagreed. He said he NEVER spoke to Gavaskar during their field partnership. Not even about family matters.

We never talked about cricket. He always thought about his game, I didn’t want to disturb it. Just before he came out on the bat, he pushed his hat (to block peripheral vision) and turned off the rest. Everyone knew they didn’t bother him when he came in. in that mode. When Bishan Singh Bedi knew how to hit with me from the other side, there would be a lot of conversation. He would tell me to keep going, that he would be there with me until the end (smiles), “Viswanath said.

“I have always known that my partnership with Sunil will continue for a long time to come. It is still very strong,” he added.

Number 4 knew he had ignited the spark with number 1 because future brothers-in-law Gavaskar and Viswanath, then 22 and 21, helped India defeat West India and England in 1971 – a turning point in Indian cricket in the age of radio. As news broke on August 24 that India had achieved its first victory in the series in England, there were reports of dancing in the streets and a wreath of radio.

“Everyone says that in 1983 she changed the whole scenario of Indian cricket, that’s true, but in ODI. In test cricket in 1971 it was a turning point. When we returned to the country after the victory in Oval, we came across such a reception that “I’m still shivering from thinking about it. No place was empty on the street. It took us 3-4 days to get back to reality,” Viswanath said.


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