Batting legend G.R. Viswanath is well aware of a debutant’s nerves and infact he was dismissed for a duck in his first Test innings at Kanpur against Australia in 1969. The first-timer made amends in the second innings and scored 137 and that statistical high — the best ever score by an Indian debutant — was recently upstaged by Shikhar Dhawan during his mercurial 187 against Michael Clarke’s men at Mohali.
Ever the gentleman, Viswanath was all praise for Dhawan. “I am so glad I got to see my record being broken. Dhawan’s knock was fantastic and he kept hitting the ball with perfect timing. I have never seen an innings like that in my lifetime and I was beginning to wonder if I would see anyone overtake my record. I am very blessed that I was able to see this innings. I would say it was a privilege,” Viswanath said here on Thursday.
Viswanath lauded the correct way in which Dhawan unleashed his mayhem. “He barely went over the top. He kept the ball along the ground and he played very calmly. It was amazing to watch. I have seen him play in the IPL and he likes to take on bowlers but this was something different.
“Back when he came for an under-19 camp at the NCA, he had this tendency to lean forward with his shoulder which made it hard for him to reach the ball if it was in front of him so he would end up reaching with his bat. I worked with him on that aspect and he has come a long way since and has become a bright prospect,” Viswanath said.
Overwhelmed by nostalgia, Viswanath added: “Shikhar’s innings brought back a lot of memories. I was almost as fast as Shikhar. I am not saying that I know I was as quick as him but when he reached the 130 mark, he had scored around 25 boundaries and I remember that I had scored as many.
“After the ton, skipper (M.A.K) Pataudi wanted me to get to 150. Unfortunately, I was out for 137. After Shikhar crossed my mark, I wanted him to reach 200 as that would have been a good benchmark.”