(from left) Daivik and Gundappa Vishwanath © DNA
(from left) Daivik and Gundappa Vishwanath © DNA

I have taken to watching Karnataka Premier League (KPL) out of a withdrawal syndrome from cricket than anything else. The end of The Ashes, played alongside two wonderful Test series in Sri Lanka, had left me on a high from which it was near-impossible to retreat once an inexplicably unfair chasm in the calendar happened.

KPL is generally fun: the tournament features the unadulterated joy of watching former stars, domestic giants, unheard-of club cricketers, and exciting youngsters enjoying themselves despite the aura of the omnipresent Vinay Kumar — a name that has become synonymous to Karnataka cricket over the past two seasons.

I was following a match between Rockstars and Namma Shivamogga. There were some big names. Rockstars were led by Kiccha Sudeep, that indomitable 42-year old actor; the side also boasted of Test cricketers like Sunil Joshi and David Johnson.

Namma Shivamogga, on the other hand, was led by Stuart Binny, and featured the exciting Shreyas Gopal. There was Sadiq Kirmani (son of Syed), and another person who went by the name of Daivik Viswanath.

The name rang a bell. I remembered a Boat Club Quiz Club (yes, the word ‘Club’ appears twice) cricket quiz conducted by Arnold D’Souza. There was a question (there are reasons for SlideShare being a serious contender for the best thing invented since sliced bread) that involved a quote. The question did not mention the name of the youngster, but I had looked him up.

This was the youngster Wisden had once referred to when Sunil Gavaskar was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year: “[Sunil] Gavaskar’s sister Kavita (means poetry) is married to the other Indian batting genius, Gundappa Viswanath. It is mind-boggling to contemplate the talent of their offspring — when he arrives.”

This was that offspring, playing KPL.

Daivik Viswanath is also the great-nephew of Madhav Mantri. Though Mantri never reached the stature of Gavaskar or Viswanath, he played Tests too, and was instrumental in shaping Bombay cricket in the 1950s. He led Bombay as well as opened batting and kept wickets for them.

Daivik’s cousin Rohan Gavaskar played One-Day Internationals, but he led Bengal, East Zone, and even India A. Had he not been the son of an illustrious father, Rohan may have remained away from public attention: instead, he ended up belonging to an unenviable group that also consists of WG Grace Jr, Victor Trumper Jr, Richard Hutton, Ron Headley, Chris Cowdrey, and Bazid Khan, among others.

But Rohan still managed something. Liam Botham became a rugby star, but he had played First-Class cricket as well, as had Mali Richards. Daivik had not even achieved that.

Suddenly I felt sad, very sad. This was the son of ‘Vishy’… a favourite son of Eden Gardens… the man who scored that 97 not out at Chepauk… the first Indian to top ICC Test rankings when retrospective rankings were introduced… the man who challenged the supremacy of Gavaskar in the hearts of many an Indian cricket fan… how can Viswanath’s son remain in such obscurity?

To his credit, Daivik had played for Karnataka Under-16s, albeit without much success. The KPL appearance was his first serious cricket appearance in six years. But when H Rajeev and Madan Mohan were running away with a 70-run stand, young Daivik dismissed both men with his off-breaks.

He finished with 4-0-25-2, and was instrumental in containing Rockstars to 146 for 4. Sadiq Kirmani then added 129 with Samarth Ooty (born about 500 km from Ooty) in 85 balls, and that was that.

Namma Shivamogga won by 8 wickets, but it did not matter. I wanted to see Daivik bat: what if he came up with one of those square-cuts or square-drives I have heard so much of and have seen only in grainy footages?

In a quirk of fate, Viswanath Jr was playing alongside Kirmani Jr and Binny Jr. Their fathers had made Karnataka proud in my childhood. While Viswanath had formed the backbone of the Indian batting line-up in the 1970s, Binny and Kirmani were members of a World Cup-winning side.

Namma Shivamogga still have a chance in KPL (though it has been a two-horse race this time, between Belagavi Panthers and Bijapur Bulls): would it not be wonderful if the sons lift the trophy this time?

One can always hope.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor at CricketCountry and CricLife. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)