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  1. Although all 3 batted in different eras they were amongst the most flamboyant ,gifted and impactful batsmen of their times.At their best they were all close to no 1.Even a photo-finish may not properly seperate these 3 stalwarts. David Gower was elegance personified taking batting grace to regions of divinty.No batsmen of his era negotiated the most lethal deliveries with such remorseless ease .He possed the wizardry of a magician in his batting,arguably posessing more natural talent than any left hander before him,including Sobers and Pollock.Gower was above all prolific on the fast Australian tracks as well as the turning sub0continent track sin Pakistan.He also scored an unbeaten 154 in West Indies against the 4 pronged pace battery.Sadly he never did complete justice to his talent often being dismissed by reckless strokes.Averaged more away than at home which is creditable.The likes oif Lillee and Holding ranked Gower with the very best.To me average of 44.25,18 centuries and aggregate of 8231 runs did not do true justice to Gower's phenomenal talent. Inzamam ul Haq at his best could pulverize the best of bowling attacks.No batsmen of his era had better reflexes against genuine pace.Inzy was also the best match-winner of his era as a batsmen averaging over 78 in wins .In his peak era he averaged over 60 and twice remained unbeaten in run chases to pull of Houdini acts to win tests for Pakistan.Inzy was very prolific in West Indies and England but not much so in Australia and South Africa.Still he could give better finishing touches in ODI'S than even Tendulkar and more impactful in wins than even Lara.What went against him being classed with Lara,Ponting or Tendulkar was his relatively poor overseas record .Still his batting won tests for Pakistan in England,West Indies and India.Morally Inzamam averaged around 50 and scored 25 centuries which is still remarkable, Kevin Pieterson was very much like the equivalent of Viv Richards for his times.Arguably since Viv only Inzamam had such sharp reflexes facing genuine pace .Pieterson championed England's cause in Ashes series at home and away and his best batting in the Ashes compared with that of the all-time greats.At their best few batsmen have been more dynamic or explosive.Kevin could simply tear the flesh of oponents from word go as he did in the 2005 Ashes and 2010-11 version.He also was very successful in India in 2012.Sadly his career fell out due to team politics and his disillusionment with the administrators.Still averaging over 47 and scoring over 8000 runs is a creditable achievement. If I had a gun on my head I may just plump for David Gower even if he was statistically overshadowed by Kevin and Inzy in terms of average.I feel Gower revealed creativity or artistry in metaphysical depths and the game is not only about mere stats but also has an aesthetic element.He also faced some of the most lethal pace bowling attacks of Australia and West Indies and averaged more overseas than at home.Pieterson and Inzamam propelled their team sto more victories but they played in different eras where scoring rate was greatly accelerated.Pieterson would just edge Inzamam by a whisker because he was more sucessful against the best teams of his day and in Australia and South Africa.
  2. This is my ranking in order of merit of the best pair of left-handed batsmen fused into one.I have combined technical skill and solidity with natural ability or flair and attacking agression.Criteria is not sheer class and statistical record but the fusion of contrasting qualities. 1.Brian Lara-Alvin Kalicharan-Like the fusion of a poet with a technician and boxer. Lara took artistry to regions of the sublime while Kalicharan had glorious technique blended with power. 2.Gary Sobers-David Gower-perfect fusion of technique and power with grace and creativity.Gower posessed grace of the divine while Sobers was closest to the consummate batsmen. 3.Brian Lara -Alan Border - 4.David Gower-Alvin Kalicharan 5.Alvin Kalicharan-Clive Lloyd. 6.Alan Border-David Gower 7.Alan Border-Graeme Pollock 8.Alan Border-Gary Sobers 9.Gary Sobers-Neil Harvey 10.Gary Sobers-Graeme Pollock 11.Gary Sobers-Alvin Kalicharan 12.Gary Sobers-Brian Lara In my view Alvin Kalicharan was technically the best of left-handed batsmen,like Rohan Kanhai the other way around.Sobers was just a shade behind in this respect.For pure flair or natural talent Lara and Gower towered above everybody displaying the innovative ability of painter Rembrandt.In termsof creative genius Pollock and Sobers were just a notch behind.To bat for your life ior for solidity Border was the king or wall.For sheer power Sobers and Lloyd were the ultimate men.The most complete posessing every facet wee Kalicharan an Sobers.Placed Lara-Kali combination at top because it perfectly blended creative genius with power and technical skill. Combination like Sobers-Pollock or Lra-Sobers rated relatively low as they do not have vital element of contrasts.
  3. This is my selection in order of merit of the most elegant or artistic batsmen of all time.They were simply the equivalent of connoiseurs to the game of cricket.Their batting was simply poetry in motion or reminsicent of a Rembrandt canvas.Their deftest touche sent the ball rolling to the boundary.Their strokes were like the touches of a painters brush.All took art of batting to regions of divinity,holding the bat like a wand. 1.David Gower 2.Frank Worrell 3.Zaheer Abbas 4.Mohammad Azharuddin 5.Gundappa Vishwanath 6.Majid Khan 7.Lawrence Rowe 8.Ted Dexter 9.Rohan Kanhai 10.V.V.S.Laxman 11.Mark Waugh 12.Martin Crowe 13.Greg Chappell 14.Mahela Jayewardene 15.Alvin Kalicharan The 1st 4 were virtually a dead heat.No batsmen ever displayed such ease on the crease as Gower who treated the most lethal cricket balls like a mother putting a child to sleep with characteristic silken touch.Worrel was the epitome of elegance .Zaheer, Azhar, Vishy and Majid took batting artistry to regions of the sublime like a musical composer.Zaheer and Azhar more like poets,Zaheer and Majid reminiscent of magicians.Rowe was more elegant than any West Indian batsmen of his era.Even when showing contempt Dexter would never lose his golden touch.Kanhai was the ultimate batting wizard.V.V.Surpassed even Tendulkar in terms of battting innovation.Mark Waugh was classical in his execution even when tearing an attack to shreds.Growe was simply poetry in motion.Jayewardene had a characteristic sublime touch. For pure elegance or beauty Gower and Worrell just edged Zaheer and Azhar .Still the latter were better protagonists of pure touch art.For creativity Kanhai Vishy ,Laxman ,Majid and Crowe were supreme .I feel Zaheer Abbas or Azharuddin by a whisker had more of the element of beauty than Vishwanath or Majid in the poetic sense.Similar case between Lawrence Rowe and Rohan Kanhai.
  4. Today we wish the legendary Gundappa Vishwanath a great 70th birthday.Here I wish to play the maestro a handsome tribute. For sheer prowess or creative genius arguable no Indian batsmen could not equal if not surpass the legendary Gundappa Vishwanath.Vishy took batting wizardry to depths of the divine reminding you of a musical composer.His best batting took virtuoisty in the game to it's highest zenith.At his best he may have joined the Viv Richards.Tendulkars and Laras.Vishy's strokes posessed the grace of the touches of a painters brush and the imagination of a poet,taking the art of batting to another dimension.Some of the strokes he executed were his very own creation like his stroke which blended a flick,hook and a pull.His square or late-cutting resembled a magician performing.He blended his divine artistry with very sound technique thus being close to the most consummate batsmen of all.In my view simply the Indian equivalent of Rohan Kanhai. Quoting a paragraph in 'The Citizen' today below "Viswanath’s tenures at the crease could be compared to that of a musician at a concert. Like Ravi Shankar and Bismillah Khan in their arts, he held you spellbound with his matchless craft. You watched him with rapt attention as you would listen to the two others. He was always a great favourite with the crowd, who cheered him loud and long every time he came to the wicket, for they knew that while he was at the crease, they would witness batting in its highest art form. I watched Viswanath play several innings and not once can I remember the spectators booing him for slow scoring, though a Srikkanth or a Sehwag he was not. He was always watched with more than just keen interest. Even a defensive stroke - normally a dull thud of bat against ball – was a thing of beauty and grace when he played it. He sculpted his runs at the rate of roughly 25 an hour not with monotonous regularity but with strokes of ethereal beauty and grace. Seeing him execute some of his shots, which were the epitome of elegance, one was reminded of the work of sculptors, which is the work of perfection. There were touches of Vijay Hazare when he drove and shades of Vijay Manjrekar when he cut. While these strokes were predominant in his repertoire, he was also a daring hooker and had the most attractive leg glance one could hope to see." India never lost a test match when Vishwanath scored a century.On a bad wicket or fast track he overshadowed even his brother-in-law Sunil Gavaskar.His unbeaten 97 at Madras v West Indies in 1974-75 is rated by Wisden amongst the top 10 test innings ever and even his 124 on the same venue against West Indies is ranked amongst the top 100 innings of all time.In those innings Vishy took batting artistry to regions of the sublime,simply the epitome of cricketing perfection.He bissected the most impregnable gaps with the skill and precision of a surgeon or sculptor.Vishy was also instrumental in some of India's famous wins like at Madras v West Indies in 1974-75 and 1978-79 ,Port of Spain in 1975-76 and at Melbourne in 1980-81.He was also a class act at Dunedin in New Zealand in 1975-76 on a wet pitch when scoring 79 and 83 blending the skills of an architect and a surgeon.Vishy also had the ability to take India out of the depths of despair to vase tests like at Delhi in 1981-82 when scoring a classical 107 and at Lords when scoring 112 in a historic match-saving partnership with Dilp Vengsarkar of 210 runs.He also had the ability to make staggering or mammoth scores like when scoring 222 v England at Madras in 1981-82 and 179 at Kanpur v West Indies in 1978-79.Both Andy Roberts and Dennis Lillee rated Vishy a better player on fast ,bouncy tracks than Gavaskar.Gavaskar himself rated Vishy to be the best batsmen he saw in his time.In matches won Vishwanath averaged 49,more than Gavaskar.To turn or win games Vishy in my view was the most impactful Indian batsmen of his era.Above all Vishy scored runs when India most needed them. It is sad that we could hardly see Vishy much in the one day version of the game with his amazing skill to improvise.His 75 at Edgbaston in the 1979 Prudential World cup against an all-conquering Wist Indies pace attack ,ranks amongst the best batting counter-attacks ever against the great Calypso quartet. Sadly he never did true justice to his enormous talent getting out often to extravagant strokes or carelessness.If he wished or pursued bating records he would have averaged over 50 and scored possibly even 10 more test centuries. .Possibly inconsistency denied Vishy a place amongst the all-time great batsmen and he may have just been edged by Viv Richards and the Chappell brothers for a place in the middle order of the 1970's world xi.Still before the advent of Viv Richards in 1974-75 and the advent of Ian Chapell towards the end of the 1970s Vishy may have made the world xi at no4 or 5 spot. I would place Vishy just a notch below Colin Cowdrey,David Gower,Clive Lloyd ,Ted Dexter or Martin Crowe and virtually the equal of Zaheer Abbas,Mark Waugh and possibly V.V.S.Laxman. For sheer batting talent I would place Vishy on par with Denis Compton ,Majid Khan or David Gower and only behind Rohan Kanhai,Brian Lara,Viv and Barry Richards ,Don Bradman and Wally Hammond.Amongst Indian batsmen I would only place Tendulkar,Gavaskar,Dravid and Kohli ahead oh Vishwanath. In handling express pace I rank Vishy the best ever attacking batsmen from India and arguably even the entire sub-continent. The batsmen who batted most like Vishy was the legendary West Indian maestro,Rohan Kanhai,close to the most consummate batsmen of them all.Other batsmen very similar were Kalicharan David Gower,Zaheer Abbas,Mark Waugh and Azharrudin.
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