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Gundappa Viswanath became my childhood idol after listening to a comment on the radio: Kapil Dev


The legendary Kapil Dev said he considered Gundappa Viswanath his childhood idol and used to listen to radio commentary about the great hitter’s exploits before he even saw him ply his trade with his own eyes.

“Gundappa Viswanath was my childhood cricket idol and his image was projected by the commentary I heard on the radio. It was several years before I saw him beat with my own eyes,” said Kapil launching the autobiography of the late Hindi sports commentator, Jasdev Singh, titled “On the Wings of Radio Waves? A Broadcaster’s Journey”.

The book is the English version of the Hindi autobiography, “Main Jasdev Singh Bol Raha Hoon”, compiled, edited and transcribed by his son Gurdev Singh.

“It was while listening to the ongoing commentary on the radio that I built the image of wrist drummer Viswanath in my mind. Taking cues from how commentators were describing his personality and his stick made him the greatest cricketer in the world for me,” Kapil said.

“Just like me, that’s how a lot of young people started to idolize sports people even before TV pictures brought the sport right to their homes.”

Viswanath was a prominent member of the Indian squad when Kapil made his Test debut in 1978 and they played together for several years. Kapil also got to know Jasdev Singh during some overseas cricket tours.

“The images of athletes are often constructed on their description by commentators. Sometimes we players sit and think even though we are as good as projected by them,” Kapil said.