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Cricket history: Indian legend Gundappa Vishwanath hits the helicopter shot, years before MS Dhoni made it famous

ANALYST
Feature
Timeless

Vishwanath and Dhoni
Vishwanath and Dhoni

The backstory

Wikipedia defines the Helicopter Shot as "the act of flicking the bat toward the leg side when facing a yorker or a fuller-length delivery, and finishing the stroke with a flourish by twisting the bat in an overhead circle". The shot was made famous by the former captain of Indian Cricket team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and he effectively used it on several occasions throughout his illustrious cricketing career. It's believed that MS Dhoni's childhood friend Santosh Lal was the guy who taught him how to play the unique shot.


Vishwanath's Helicopter shot

Gundappa Vishwanath is widely regarded by many as being one of the greatest Indian batsmen who ever lived. He played Test cricket for India from 1969 to 1983, appearing in 91 matches and scoring over 6000 runs. Famously known as "Vishy", Vishwanath possessed an elegant batting style which focused more on timing than on power. His favorite shot was the square cut, which he effectively played against the toughest of bowlers throughout his career.

Although Dhoni is credited as being the one to popularize the shot, he certainly wasn't the first cricketer to hit one. An incredibly rare clip from a 1979 test match, played between India and West Indies, has surfaced online. The clip shows West Indies pacer Norbert Philips delivering the ball to Gudappa Vishwanath, which he flicked to the leg side with relative ease. The shot strongly mimics the Helicopter Shot that Dhoni is known for. Take a look at the second shot in the video yourself, and decide for yourself.


The aftermath

Vishwanath served as ICC's match referee from 1999 to 2004. Additionally, he also served as the Chairman of the National Selection Committee. He was given the Col. C K Naidu Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 by BCCI.

Also see - Live cricket score

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