Hall of Fame Member
Debatable. But if anyone is going to be replace Hazare, the next best options should be Viswanth for sure, he was a laxman in style, but with a more sound technique. To quote SJS again on this matter from years ago:Would opt for Lax over Hazare any day.
quote said:Ok. Let me try to enumerate it in bullet points to keep it short for when writing about Gungappa Vishwanath one can forget oneself and write pages.
1. He was the finest player of fast bowling - and I mean high quality fast bowling which means really fast and with movement whether in the air and/or off the wicket - that I ever saw. There are great players of fast bowling like Gavaskar who can see where it is going to a millimeter and leave it unless they think its going to crash on to their stumps or defend it with a rock solid defense.
But Vishwanth would play the most audacious shots of those he would have been applauded for being able to defend successfully. His strokes of the front foot were fabulous but his backfoot play to the finest bowling under helpful conditions against master bowlers like Andy Roberts was nothing short of magic.
2. His technique was flawless. He played each and every stroke in the book (and quite a few that you felt no one would attempt) and played them to perfection. He drove half volleys perfectly but played almost everything else off the backfoot and invariably had time to spare. He showed to the world what a great backfoot player could do against the best of fast bowling.
3. He was as beautiful to watch as someone like Laxman but he had the great technique and flawless footwork that Laxman lacked.
The question then arises, why is he not in my XI. He would never go on batting and grinding the bowling into dust as Gavaskar or a Dravid will do. If the team was in trouble and the bowling was unplayable, Vishwanath would have all his faculties at FULL ALERT and bat as if it was child's play and with great concentration which wasn't apparent because he continued playing those strokes.
But let the bowling become ordinary and easy for any Tom Dick and 'Hari' to handle it and Vishwanath would be bored, p[lay some audacious stroke even for his great standards in 'audacious stroke play' and walk off before the catch had been pouched (or so it appeared),
With the result that he did not make all those big double hundreds that Gavaskar and Dravid will tote up and appear greater Test players to all and sundry. I think, Dravid would be honoured to be dropped from that side I named if he was pipped to it by Vishwanath and I would feel I had not pandered to the statistically minded audience when I named that side.