5 short cricketers who went on to become all-time greats
While international sport continues in its ever-evolving shift towards athletes of a tal stature, cricket is sustaining its unique capacity to deliver world-class short competitors onto the global stage with the latest additions to the list in Temba Bavuma, Mushfiqur Rahim and Parthiv Patel. People tend to think that the greatest cricketers are tall and well-built like the West Indian cricketers in the 1970s and 1980s, or the well-built Australian pace-battery.
But there have been some cricketers who weren’t tall, but went on to become all-time greats. The following list features 5 cricketers who proved that height has nothing to do with ability, skill and talent.
#5 Gundappa Vishwanath – 5’3’
Sunil Gavaskar’s (who was also short) brother-in-law Gundappa Vishwanath was one of the most elegant batsmen India has ever produced. A batsman of short stature (5’ 3’’), Vishy (as he was commonly known) was a master of using his wrists.
He was exquisite in his strokeplay. He was equally adept against pace and spin - playing late, using the depth of the crease and using his feet against spin. Even though his numbers aren’t as good, he was as crucial as Sunil Gavaskar was to the side in the 1970s.
Right from a century on debut, Vishwanath came good when it mattered the most and performed when the chips were down.
A few memorable ones being an unbeaten, match-winning 97 against a rampaging Andy Roberts at Madras in 1974-75, a match-winning 124 out of a team total of 255 on another fiery, bouncy Madras wicket against West Indies in 1978-79, and innings of 83 and 79 against New Zealand on a Christchurch green top in 1975-76.
Vishwanath often excelled on tough pitches. Also, he always played the game in its true spirit. He disputed the umpire’s decision only once in his career in the Golden Jubilee match in 1979-80.