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'We had the nucleus of the 1975 team'
1979, part one: Viv Richards looks back at the second World Cup: coming to terms with the post-Packer era, and what made West Indies strong contenders (00:00)
January 31, 2011
Related Links » Video & Audio: 'We felt we could defend any total' | Part three: 'I wanted to be shining on the big stage' | Part four: 'We broke down a lot of barriers' Players/Officials: Sir Viv Richards Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup | Prudential World Cup Teams: West Indies
'We had the nucleus of the 1975 team'January 31, 2011
I just think I felt that the board had made the right decision, rightly or wrongly with all the stuff which went down. Some players being dropped for certain matches, and some of the stuff which went on at that time, tactically, certainly wasn't good. But I would like to think that common sense did prevail in the end, and we all knew what happened after. Basically, I think it was the success story.
There were certainly things to look forward to; things because of the stuff played basically didn't appear to be that sort of homecoming to any great degree. You had your doubts about how players were feeling about certain individuals but one has to give Clive the credit because that is where the leadership does come in. And to have gotten everybody back in a proper frame of mind, for them to compete and to do what they did at the time was the best thing for the countries.
The difference in that is we didn't kill anyone. We just felt at that certain time certain decisions had to be taken and because of the circumstances that we were in at that time, you get it and you see it on the cricket line. The folks were a little displeased with what was happening. They had their democratic right to do whatever, and we felt we did that. What I know for sure is that the whole sequence of things which helped to mend the differences and those times made our cricket better. More money came into the game. I felt that the sacrifices made for it, and I can sit here and honestly say that it was the start of the coloured game. That whole pyjama stuff as some folks would describe it. You know it was that particular time when the white ball, the fielding circle, razzmatazz, that sort of stuff came in the game. You know it was about the changes: it was all about the changes, and Kerry Packer employed us at that time, helped bring about those changes. I was so happy to have been a part of that tournament.
Four years is a huge difference. Guys come, guys go. We won in 1975, and I felt that we still had the nucleus of the individuals who had taken us to that particular party. They were still around to boogie, maybe one or two times more, and that is what happened. We were fortunate that we still had some guys who had experienced knowing how to win, because that first experience is always the greatest experience. Then the mind and the body, I think, relaxes a little bit more in order for you to be relaxed enough to accomplish, that was it. Confidence breeds confidence.
I remember we used to go to the grounds and train and there wasn't just a factor of warming up for the sake of warming up. There was rhythm to it. You know there were certain rhythms. If we were going to do a few "jumping jacks", we were all going to be in unison doing that. It was like every one of us had to be singing from the same page. During the warm-ups we used to get a lot of applause. People used to be so impressed when we finished. Everyone came around for applause. You know we weren't just stretching for the sake of it, but it had a sort of rhythmic feel to it.
Well you'd expect England, Australia to go through. In that group, Canada were actually the newcomers. When you look at them, some of the Canadian guys, they were a part of the Caribbean cricket at some point. In cricket you are not going to get big groups, basically selected countries, countries who are fortunate to be there, relish being there. I just believe and I felt that in 1979, Australia looked good. England started slowly but picked up, to the delight of the fans, to be in final. It was an opportunity at home to showcase what they were capable of.
It's not easy when you get to that stage, the World Cup. Yes, it looked that way when you look at the team sheets, but it never is. There are so many things that are going to happen. Once it happens, we need to be on guard against being complacent and all that. You cannot afford to let your guard down, regardless of whatever team you are playing. You've got to be totally professional. It is all about going for the jugular at that particular point. So it's easy on paper, but never that easy when you are actually competing.
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