New Delhi: The Castrol awards for cricketing excellence are among the most cherished honours in the game in the country. This year's ceremony is to be held in Mumbai on Thursday and among the men who will be honoured, is the legendary Gundappa Viswanath. He will be honoured with the lifetime achievement award.
Vijay Hazare, Polly Umrigar, B S Chandrasekhar, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Erapalli Prasanna are the other legendary cricketers to have won this award before.
Gundappa Viswanath or Vishy as his close associates call him, says it’s a great feeling to win it.
IN THE THICK: Gundappa Vishwanath is in touch with the game as a coach at the NCA.
"I am absolutely thrilled, the names you have mentioned are legends, some of them are living legends. It feels great," Viswanath told CNN-IBN.
Vishy, as he was fondly called, is a deserving recepient of the honour. In a 14-year career he played 91 Test matches, made over 6000 runs that included 14 centuries - all in match-winning or match-saving causes.
The award brings back memories of some of those glory days.
"I went through my career in 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes gave me a lot of satisfaction as if I just played all those matches," he said.
Much has changed since Vishy last played in 1983. The T-20 revolution threatens to change the fabric of the game for good but Viswanath is convinced that the traditional format can survive and isn't too enthusiastic about reformatting test cricket.
Vishy is convinced that the traditional format can survive.
"Especially Test cricket, I don't see much changes. I am not looking forward to seeing coloured balls or four-day Tests. And now you're seeing results in cricket as well," he added.
He categorically says there is no need for the four-day-format and rules out cricket played at night.
He remains in touch with the game as a coach at the NCA and is an avid follower of the Indian team. Though he is impressed with their recent success, he expects Dhoni's boys to keep improving.
"They are really looking good and are a balanced side. But it is the consistency of the team that I am concerned about."
Even today, Gundappa Viswanath is remembered with reverence by Indian cricket. Expect a loud applause when he walks up on stage to collect his trophy.