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Sir Vivian Richards

By: Rex Inego | May 09, 2009 11:35 AM

Vivian Richards

If any batsman could, in the history of cricket, repeatedly acknowledge the crowd's call for a sixer, it must be King Viv of Antigua. The Master Blaster, Sir Isacc Vivian Alexander Richards took birth on 7 March 1952 at St Johns, Antigua. Viv was voted one among the five Cricketers of the Century along with Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Jack Hobbs, Sir Garfield Sobers and Shane Warne, by an elite panel consisting of a hundred cricket experts in 2000. This powerful right hand batsman was not only judged in 2002 by Wisdens as the one to have brought forth the best innings of all time in One Day International Cricket, but also was chosen as the greatest ODI batsman in the history of the game.



Most Devastating Batsman?

Viv Richards for his extremely belligerent batting style is often looked upon as the most devastating batsman in the history of cricket by many cricketers, press men and ehthusiasts of the game alike. Pakistani fast bowler and allrounder Imran Khan had once stated that Viv was the most efficient batsman against quality fast bowling. John Birmingham, the noted write followed suit. Ian Chappel too had noted once that Richards was only the second best batsman he ever came across, after Sir Garfield Sobers. This was the same experience for Barry Richards and Ravi Shastri. However, the best of the compliments come from Martin Crowe and Wasim Akram. The former, the best batsman in the cricketing history of New Zealand referred to Viv as the most intimidating as well as devastating batsman he had ever seen, as the latter a bowling wizard from Pakistan avered that he had never bowled to a better batsman.



He Simply Swaggered

Viv Richards's style at the cricketing field was definitely not all that pleasing for the rival side. As against the more professional approach put forth by Donald Bradman or Sachin Tendulkar, Viv's style was all about a determined demeanor and relaxed manner for the crowd as it was brimmed with sarcasm for the fielding side. He literally swaggered about the field, when he was not despatching the bowlers with disdain, giving jitters to the oppositions all around the world. His trademark shot was the half-flick-half ondrive that he engaged on a delivery pitched on good length outside the off-stump to culminate into the maximum over or through the midwicket boundary. Unlike Bradman this man was an exponent in the art of hooking the ball. It is also worth mentioning here that Viv throughout his 17 year long career never used a helmet, even though he played against some of the fieriest fast bowlers in the cricketing history such as Jeff Thomson, Dennis Lillee, Len Pascoe, Imran Khan and Richard Hadlee.



A Rollicking Career

Viv Richards had scored an attacking unbeaten 192 in the very second test of his career, which was against India in New Delhi in 1974. His debut was in Bangalore in the first test of the series. His finest year was 1976, in which 1710 runs were scored by him of 11 tests at an overwhelming average of 90.00. He had highlighted those runs with 7 centuries including a terrific career best knock of 291 at the Oval. Viv also captained the West Indies side for fifty tests out of which he won 27 and lost only 8. In 1986, he scored the fastest century in test cricket from just 56 balls against England. Viv has also the rare credit of winning the inaugural 1975 ODI world cup for his side by running out Greg Chappel, Ian Chappel and Alan Turner. His match saving as well as winning innings of 189 partnered with Michael Holding against England at Old Trafford is regarded my many as the best ODI innings in the cricketing history. Until 2005, Viv held the record for a player's scoring a hundred and taking 5 wickets in an ODI tie. Richards, the only West Indian captain who never lost a test series, had also spent considerable time playing with Somerset county in England.



Retirement and Personal Life

Viv Richards retired from international cricket in 1991, though he continued with his English county commitments. He continued with Rishton CC' in the Lancashire Cricket League after getting sacked from Somerset. In 1993 he helped Glamorgan win the AXA Sunday League. Viv has a couple of children with Miriam, his wife. Mali Richards, one of Richards's son has also played first class cricket. Besides, Richards also has a daughter called Masaba with Neena Gupta, a renowned Indian actress.



Statistics

121 tests 8540 runs ֖ 24 hundreds 45 fifties ֖ 291 highest score 50.23 average ֖ 32 wickets

187 ODIs 6721 runs ֖ 11 centuries 45 fifties ֖ 189* HS 47.00 average ֖ 118 wickets

Pros: Capability of winning a match single-handedly. Mere presence could beleaguer the opposition. Tremendous fielder.

cons: Shaky starter. An extremely belligerent batsman.

conclusion: One of the most destructive batsman in the history of world cricket.

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