He is considered as one of the finest batsmen Indian cricket has ever produced. With his technical perfection, Gundappa Viswanath was the face of Indian batting for more than a decade. 6080 runs in 91 Test matches with 14 centuries, Viswanath was an important member of the 1971 touring Indian team led by Mr. Ajit Wadekar, which created history by defeating England and winning the test series for the first time, on English soil.
Viswanath is disappointed to see the Indian batsmen struggling against swinging deliveries. He seems to become frustrated seeing the way Murali Vijay, K L Rahul surrendering against James Anderson and co. In a recent chat with CricketSoccer.com, he points out one or two things which could lead to India’s failure down under.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer (CS): How would you describe India’s batting debacle in the first two Test matches?
Gundappa Viswanath (GV): Very disappointing performance. I’m pretty upset. Indian team doesn’t have a great record in England. But we expected that Indian team will fight it till the end. Don’t know why the batsmen just gave up in both the two test matches. If you want to break the shackles of not winning a test series in England in the recent past, you have to fight until you are finished. But I see lack of willpower on this current Indian side. Apart from Virat Kohli, I don’t see any positivity in any other Indian batsmen. That is hurting the team.
CS: From a technical point of view, what went wrong with India’s batting?
GV: They forget to play on the back foot. In England, Australia or in South Africa, where pitches offer more bounce, you have to play on the back foot most of the times. It will not only help you to manage bounce, but also gives you an extra microsecond of time to play shots. If you see at the records, every batsman who has done well in those conditions must be very sharp while playing on the back foot. But the Indian batsmen, apart from Virat, tend to play every ball on their front foot, thus giving the bowlers chance to unsettle them. The reason may be that these players play a lot of T20 matches nowadays. So they are tempted to play shots in each and every delivery. Sometimes it works. But unfortunately, this strategy has become a total failure this time.
CS: What quality should one possess to be a successful Test batsman?
GV: The two most important requirements for a successful test batsman are sound technique and cool temperament, the ability to remain unruffled in tight situations. One must know how to relax. The important thing is to take each test as it comes as each hugely differs from the other.
CS: How would you assess Virat Kohli’s performance this time in England? He doesn’t have a great track record there…
GV: Ohh, he has done exceptionally well this time. Look, a world-class sportsperson always tries to adapt and improve. Virat has done that. He was a failure last time India toured England. But he has prepared himself. To manage the swing, he is standing someone foot outside the crease. These types of adjustments are required. Virat is very impressive.
CS: Do you see any realistic chance for India to make a comeback in the series?
GV: It’s a very difficult task. Still, nothing is impossible in cricket. But they have to play positively. England is making a difference by playing positive cricket. I feel if India can make it 1-2 in Trent Bridge, the remaining series would be an interesting one.