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February 7, 2009
Former Indian captain Gundappa Viswanath has been chosen for the CK Nayudu lifetime achievement award, the highest honour the Indian board can bestow on a former player. It will be presented to him on February 18 in Mumbai.
The CK Nayudu award comes with a trophy, a citation and a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh (approx. US$ 38,000).
Viswanath has been called the "greatest batsman" India has produced by Sunil Gavaskar, one of the most prolific scorers in the history of Test cricket. Viswanath shot into prominence with a double century on his first-class debut for Mysore (as the Karnataka team was referred to then) in 1967-68. Picked in the Indian side in the Kanpur Test of the 1969-70 series against Australia, Viswanath got a duck in the first innings, but made up with a magnificent 137 in the second.
Viswanath played 91 Tests for India, scoring more than 6000 runs at an average of over 40. But he is most appreciated for the fact that he scored his big runs when India needed them most. His match-winning 97 against a powerful West Indies team that included the rampaging Andy Roberts in 1974-75, stands out. But his other knocks came in equally trying conditions - 124 in Madras against West Indies in 1978-79, 83 and 79 against New Zealand on a greentop at Christchurch in 1975-76.
Viswanath also served as vice-president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association and had a stint as chairman of national selectors from 1992-96. He is currently working as a batting coach at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
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