Kolkata: The legendary spin trio of Bishan Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna and Bhagwat Chandrasekhar Wednesday hailed Sunil Gavaskar as the best Indian batsman they have seen, but said the one they would love to pay and watch for his sheer artistry was Gundappa Viswanath.
"Sunil is the most complete batsman that India has produced. I once had a debate with Vijay Manjrekar, who voted for Vijay Merchant. But I don't believe any Indian batsman can be better than Sunil," Bedi said during a talk show at the Eden Gardens to celebrate the ground's 150 years. (Also read: Golden Oldies Release Stamps for Eden Garden's 150 Years Celebration)
Prasanna said that as India did not have any quality fast bowler then, Gavaskar played the spinners at the nets, only to face the world's top pacers of those times with aplomb during Test matches.
"He played on uncovered wickets, without any protective gear but still scored over 10,000 runs. He successfully took on the great Caribbean fast bowlers like Michael Holding and Andy Roberts. Gavaskar is indeed the best Indian batsman I had seen," he said.
Comparing Gavaskar with Sachin Tendulkar, Prasanna said: "Sachin used to play with so many protective guards. But still I saw him closing his eyes or the ball striking his helmet. That's not the sign of a brave player."
But both Bedi and Prasanna were unanimous that they would spend their money to watch Viswanath in action.
"Vishy was an artist, a strokemaker. He was delightful to watch," Chandrasekhar said.
Asked who he would rate as the best batsman he bowled to, Bedi did not even need a moment to reply.
"Sobers was the best. There will never be a second Sobers. Just as there will be no second Don Bradman," he said.