Viv Richards February 22, 2010

'I felt I was an artist'

Interview by Benj Moorehead
Viv Richards, the only captain under whom West Indies never lost a series, speaks about the sense of confrontation he brought to his cricket, his first Test in Antigua and his success against England
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What was it like having all those great West Indian fast bowlers to face in practice?
You may say it was good enough practice. But I've never enjoyed being in the nets, because I felt enclosed. My batting practice would be a guy throwing balls in the way in which I liked it. It was all about getting ball on bat, rather than something whizzing past your ear. Each bowler has his own pride when bowling in the nets but it's vital that you get ball on bat and then you are ready to use the opportunity when you are out in the middle.

In 1969 you refused to walk when given out in a match for Antigua, sparking crowd trouble. How do you look back on that now?
It was a difficult start to my career, but if you are confident enough about the decisions that you make and about how you can correct them, then it becomes history. It's all about pushing on and learning from mistakes. You are going to have some hiccups, especially as a young man. I felt I wasn't out at the time and I stamped my feet - I've seen people not be banned for worse. Obviously this sent a message to the crowd that all wasn't well. The crowd reacted and I was responsible. I paid my dues - I was banned from first-class cricket for two years. If you do a crime, you must do the time.

What was it like arriving at Somerset in 1974?
There seemed to be a lack of self-esteem with certain individuals at the club. You heard about Somerset not winning anything in over 100 years. I've always been a competitive guy. I want to win. I want to make an impact. At the time I was on the fringes of the West Indies team and I was going to a club that knew nothing about me. I felt I could bat. I looked around the county circuit and saw the professional cricketers and I'm saying, "Wow, I could do a little bit better than that." I tried to pump that motivation into my team.

What was Brian Close like as a captain?
Closey is someone I have an enormous amount of respect for. I was fortunate to have him around at that time. He was instrumental. I felt he saw something in me. He took me under his wing and I would travel with him on most occasions. In those days county cricketers travelled their own way. I was Closey's co-pilot. During the long journeys around the country we would talk about the game, about what I could do to move forward. He taught me about being tough with your decisions and fighting hard. Closey did not reap the success of the team and the characters he built. In came Brian Rose and by that time the players were ripe. They were battle-hardened by playing under one of the hardest skippers I'll ever know. It was the perfect platform. And in the end it came good for Somerset. We became a fancied county. The Garners and the Bothams came on board and we had a good connection.

You were more successful against England than against any other Test side. Was there added motivation?
When I first came to this country there were folks who felt I was coming from a hotter climate so I wouldn't adapt to English conditions. They thought I wasn't going to do well because of my style of play - of hitting across the line. I didn't call it hitting across the line. I felt it was inventive. If you stay to the basics - hitting the ball in the V - it would be a rather boring game. I felt I was an artist. If I hit a fielder I wasn't doing my job well enough. It was all about avoiding fieldsmen and scoring runs. No one was going to put me off my plan.

I could have hit the ball through the off side as well as any. I know that. It was my choice when to and when not to. So I wanted to prove these guys wrong, prove that I am a soldier where the bat is concerned. Wherever the fight is, I'm going to be fighting. I didn't want to be rude to anyone, but anyone who is rude to me, then I was going to be rude in the right way: my bat was going to tell the story. You had guys who didn't believe in the black man. If you feel you are superior to me, then you should be knocking me over every goddamn time. There were a few ass***** out there. All these factors were a motivation for how my innings would go.

Perhaps Tony Greig's promise in 1976 that the West Indies would "grovel" helped too?
I'm not into the talk stuff. You have guys who talk a lot but cannot deliver. Tony was talking himself and England into believing what they could do. Maybe he took the wrong route. I'd played against Tony a few times and didn't see anything that was extra special, apart from the lip he had at the time. I felt he was a guy who knew he didn't have any trump cards and was bluffing.

Did anyone dislike your famous leisurely walk to the crease?
There were crowds who wanted to test me, especially in a hostile environment like Yorkshire. "Hurry up!" they'd say. That's why, when you look at the records and see Vivian Richards' record against Yorkshire, I think I could be high up where averages and runs are concerned. Sometimes you get crowds who give you that opportunity to hate everyone. My beef was with them. And it was the guys who were representing them on the field who were going to suffer. That was a simple, plain fact.

Wherever the fight is, I'm going to be fighting. I didn't want to be rude to anyone but anyone who is rude to me, then I was going to be rude in the right way: my bat was going to tell the story. You had guys who didn't believe in the black man

What about bowlers who confronted you?
I love a guy who is up in my face. I didn't like it when a guy would beat my bat and just smile. I wanted him to say something, to give me something to fuel my emotions. Guys used to tell me to eff off when I was out. I enjoyed that. I wanted to come back every time. I thought, "Have your day. You knock me over, it takes only a couple of seconds to walk off, but I tell you, I back myself enough to know that so long as I'm batting you are going to see my face for a long time and it's going to hurt. Big time."

What are your memories of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket?
It was the hardest cricket I played in my life and I loved it. There were no prizes for coming second. That period had the best fast bowlers in the world. Everyone had somebody. I got a few centuries and I think it's unfair that they are not officially recognised. There was no cricket like that. I hope that the establishment look back and provide some sort of clemency.

What was it like scoring a hundred in 1981 in the first Test to be played in Antigua, where you were born?
My game was all about emotion. There must be something on the line - then Viv Richards is at his very best. Some people are weak in situations like that; they need a second chance. But sometimes there is no second chance. This was a great opportunity to prove myself. A Test in Antigua - wow! We in the Caribbean are pretty hard to convince. The people had listened to John Arlott and heard I was okay, but they wanted to see for themselves. The whole persona of that innings was about how I felt and what I wanted to achieve. You dream of these things: scoring a Test hundred in front of the folks you grew up with.

How did captaincy suit you?
I didn't quite have the numbers as captain. In those days we didn't have all these coaches; the captain and manager were responsible for keeping everyone fit and arranging practice. With captaincy you tend to ignore yourself a little. I didn't do enough work on my batting because I had to channel my energies into the team. Captaincy slowed me down and put my thinking cap on, but it also took away what I contributed as a player - like being in the field, running around and picking the ball up. I loved my fielding. As captain I had to be a bit closer to the activity and I missed being in the outfield. I was pretty handy out there as well.

What is your greatest achievement as a cricketer?
I don't look solely at what I achieved. I look at what the Caribbean and the other guys achieved in showing what teamwork can do. We all think so differently in the various parts of the Caribbean. We each have our different spices, we boast about them and other things because we are from another country and we represent that country. Being able to be in the same team as all these guys, to know the differences between us but still fulfill your goals - that to me was the greatest achievement. On a personal note, I didn't wrap myself up in cotton wool - with a helmet, a chest guard, an elbow guard - I did it the way men should and I'm proud of that. When the helmet came into play it helped a lot of careers. Batsmen felt they had this suit of armour on. Guys who could never hook a ball in their lives suddenly felt they could do it. That's when you started getting more injuries.

Do you have any regrets about your career?
I may have regrets but I hate to lament them because it could have been much worse. Today I walk in the streets and people remember me for my style of play. I'd like to be playing today. That's the only thing I'd love to change. If I was playing today, I would have been seriously rewarded for what I feel I would have given to the game.

Viv Richards was in London as a representative of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority for the World Travel Market exhibition. This article was first published in the February 2010 issue of the Wisden Cricketer. Subscribe here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • coolperson_india on February 25, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    I accept that viv richards is King of cricket :) But Sachin is God of cricket !!! And remember that King has to worship God!!!. We grown up watching his play and if sachin wasnt in indian team most them could have not watched cricket of early 90's. He is not comparable with anybody in whole world, a true living legend. cheers

  • Jelanichem on February 25, 2010, 4:26 GMT

    @mishvik1, u have got me. They say numbers do not lie and in my proffession, I have to trust numbers. If I was doing a curve fit with those averages, I guess I would also treat the 1979 average in Australia as an outlier. Maybe its the innings that I have seen him play, the shots I have seen him play, which to date I have seen no one bat like that again, which makes him the best of all I have seen for me. I have not seen any of Sehwags great innings, so maybe he has those kinds of shots too. I remember my brother and I watching Viv's 232 at Trent Bridge 76, where everything short went across the ropes and my brother saying, if he was England's skipper and a bowler bowls short to this man for the rest of the series he would have him dropped from the side. Its also interesting that most of Viv's peers, both West Indian and opposing players thinks he is the greatest they have seen. I do not believe they say that to be nice to him.

  • NEUTRAL_FAN on February 24, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    @ Middle stump. Look I don't rate him a higher TEST batsman than Ken Barrington and Ken played his last game in 68 and was a slower, less dominant batsman than Richards was! I've seen Viv footage, not just heard stories. Sobers to me personally is the best test batsman since Sir Don but he's 2nd on the list of the Wisden 5! Viv Richards had weaknesses like evry1, why don't persons suggest his temperament wasn't the best? Why don't you mention he should have shelved some pride and wear a helmet when he got much older? These are valid points and I won't argue them BUT talking down an avg. of 50 in the 80's at that? Very few avg. 50 during 80's-90's and even less avg 50 whilst SCORING SO FAST! Yea he may not have been the BEST at spin but spinners weren't the only bowlers around and he certainly wasn't horrible else he wouldn't have scored 100's against Ind or Pak. Also do you think if Jaywardne played against Thomo,Lillee etc he would avg 50+? When did the spin quartet bowl at Sachin :s

  • SatyajitM on February 24, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    This is the problem when an article is posted about an all time great and comments are opened for all. His fans starts demeaning other greats in excessive enthusiasm and their fans then start retorting back :-) Usually nobody remains neutral (I find the nickname NEUTRAL_FAN a bit of misnomer). That is the time when you have to depend a bit on statistics. A test avg over 50 was considered excellent in those days but still not the best. Apart from that, Viv had a more mortal avg of 44 and 42 against the no2 and no3 bowling sides at that time (no1 being his own side). In ODI an avg of 47 was spectacular and best in the business. But don't forget his side started with two openers who averaged 45 (Greenidge) and 41 (Haynes) respectively in ODI. It won't be unfair to say he enjoyed the kind of support and freedom Ponting enjoyed for better part of his career. But still he had to be that good to be the biggest star of a team full of stars!

  • prashant1 on February 24, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    Enjoy Viv and his "swagger" - Fine. He was an alltime great. But going on and on about how he was "better" than a Tendulkar because he "swaggered" and "played without a helmet" (something all batsman have been doing for almost a century before Viv) and "played such awesome Hooks or whatever"......is just Silly- and reveals more about the mindset about ppl making these comments than about the batsmen themselves.

  • MiddleStump on February 24, 2010, 1:29 GMT

    @Neutral_Fan. Nobody is trying to devaule Richards. Just the plain simple facts that his Test average is not great, he was a middle order bat who got time to rest between innings compared to someone like Gavaskar and who did not play against the fearsome fast bowlers on his side (in tests) or look comfortable against top quality spinners. To a man, the famed spin quartet from India did not rate him higher than Sobers or Tendulkar. It also seems like you have not seen or heard of one Ken Barrington. He averaged close to 59 in Tests. Take your time and do your arithmetic. You will find that 59 is higher than 50! And the spin quartet rate Barrington as the most difficult batsman they bowled against among right handers, not Viv who was always shaky and chancy against quality spin. It doesn't matter whether Viv played against his fast bowlers in first class games or in his backyard and scored hundreds. Had Viv played in the era of Warne and Murali his average might be even lower.

  • wasimpakistan on February 23, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    It is all hype and no substance! Viv Richards only average around 40 against top teams such as australia and pakistan who had best fast bowlers alongwith westindies. People who are lining up to call viv Richards are one who has only heard stories and feel compel to feel the same. It need courage to call naked king a naked king when everyone else was praising his magical cloth!!

  • NEUTRAL_FAN on February 23, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    I have to laugh at persons bringing up all sorts of petty, false information in an effort to devalue Sir Viv's status of a great! Rubbish like: "he batted 4 and 5" (for his whole career? Where does Yosuf, Sachin, Kallis and Chanderpaul bat today?), "oh he only averaged 50" (you think it was easy to avg. 50 in those days?), "he didn't have to face the W.I. pace quartet," (you think he didn't have to earn his selection playing against them? You think they all played on the same team for First Class cricket as well?) Lol, I don't think many of the critics even listen or read what they are saying or typing. They also conveniently leave out the fact that he was MILES AHEAD of his generation IN ODI's! Or that he had a better record as Captain even though his team was not considered better that Clive Loyd's line up! There is nothing wrong with criticism BUT put some effort and thought into it before you post on website!

  • MaruthuDelft on February 23, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    Gavaskar was too slow in scoring runs to be considered a great player; Zaheer Abbas was hyped for sometime but when he faced Australia or West Indies especially away from home he froze; Greg Chappel needed too long to get going like old cars; I did not see Gream Pollock and Barry Richards; they may deserve to compare with Viv Richards; Tendulkar has always looked 2nd best to Lara; and Lara would fail a whole series. Only Bradman can be considered better than Viv; also when Viv decided to play an innings with straight bat - occassionally - even Gavaskar's bat looked angled and shallow; when Lillee - Richards equivalent in Bowling - was firing at over 90 mph Richards made him look like a medium pacer; see the WI vs Australia 1978/79 series; he batted at 3 or above between 1975 and 1981; but surely Richards makes no friends with his words; he is a little less in the upstairs!!! you would have felt that when he captained WI; the results were due to the fact he inherited a great team.

  • kool_Indian on February 23, 2010, 15:50 GMT

    @ian_ghose - y dont u step back and see all the messages. Who started to take other batsmen like SRT,SG, Viru, etc names? You throw stones on us and expect us to take hits n lie down. 'There are many things to cricket which are greater than Tendulkar, Gavaskar and India put together' - that one line is more than enough to understand how much hate you have against us. I haven't seen Viv play or SG play or bradman play, so I dont know how stylist or how great they were - they must have been awesome. I rem'ber SG talking abt Viv and his praise for Viv's style of play so Viv must hv been really cool to watch. We appreciate good things but when someone takes names of our idols when it wan't even about 'em - you cant expect us NOT to reply.

    @ NEUTRAL_FAN - comeup with better name, on one hand, you take Viru's name in your first comment and then trying to teach others in 2nd comment - talk abt being neutral - lol. @SatyajitM - very sensible comment, cheers! Lets see if my comment is posted.

  • coolperson_india on February 25, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    I accept that viv richards is King of cricket :) But Sachin is God of cricket !!! And remember that King has to worship God!!!. We grown up watching his play and if sachin wasnt in indian team most them could have not watched cricket of early 90's. He is not comparable with anybody in whole world, a true living legend. cheers

  • Jelanichem on February 25, 2010, 4:26 GMT

    @mishvik1, u have got me. They say numbers do not lie and in my proffession, I have to trust numbers. If I was doing a curve fit with those averages, I guess I would also treat the 1979 average in Australia as an outlier. Maybe its the innings that I have seen him play, the shots I have seen him play, which to date I have seen no one bat like that again, which makes him the best of all I have seen for me. I have not seen any of Sehwags great innings, so maybe he has those kinds of shots too. I remember my brother and I watching Viv's 232 at Trent Bridge 76, where everything short went across the ropes and my brother saying, if he was England's skipper and a bowler bowls short to this man for the rest of the series he would have him dropped from the side. Its also interesting that most of Viv's peers, both West Indian and opposing players thinks he is the greatest they have seen. I do not believe they say that to be nice to him.

  • NEUTRAL_FAN on February 24, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    @ Middle stump. Look I don't rate him a higher TEST batsman than Ken Barrington and Ken played his last game in 68 and was a slower, less dominant batsman than Richards was! I've seen Viv footage, not just heard stories. Sobers to me personally is the best test batsman since Sir Don but he's 2nd on the list of the Wisden 5! Viv Richards had weaknesses like evry1, why don't persons suggest his temperament wasn't the best? Why don't you mention he should have shelved some pride and wear a helmet when he got much older? These are valid points and I won't argue them BUT talking down an avg. of 50 in the 80's at that? Very few avg. 50 during 80's-90's and even less avg 50 whilst SCORING SO FAST! Yea he may not have been the BEST at spin but spinners weren't the only bowlers around and he certainly wasn't horrible else he wouldn't have scored 100's against Ind or Pak. Also do you think if Jaywardne played against Thomo,Lillee etc he would avg 50+? When did the spin quartet bowl at Sachin :s

  • SatyajitM on February 24, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    This is the problem when an article is posted about an all time great and comments are opened for all. His fans starts demeaning other greats in excessive enthusiasm and their fans then start retorting back :-) Usually nobody remains neutral (I find the nickname NEUTRAL_FAN a bit of misnomer). That is the time when you have to depend a bit on statistics. A test avg over 50 was considered excellent in those days but still not the best. Apart from that, Viv had a more mortal avg of 44 and 42 against the no2 and no3 bowling sides at that time (no1 being his own side). In ODI an avg of 47 was spectacular and best in the business. But don't forget his side started with two openers who averaged 45 (Greenidge) and 41 (Haynes) respectively in ODI. It won't be unfair to say he enjoyed the kind of support and freedom Ponting enjoyed for better part of his career. But still he had to be that good to be the biggest star of a team full of stars!

  • prashant1 on February 24, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    Enjoy Viv and his "swagger" - Fine. He was an alltime great. But going on and on about how he was "better" than a Tendulkar because he "swaggered" and "played without a helmet" (something all batsman have been doing for almost a century before Viv) and "played such awesome Hooks or whatever"......is just Silly- and reveals more about the mindset about ppl making these comments than about the batsmen themselves.

  • MiddleStump on February 24, 2010, 1:29 GMT

    @Neutral_Fan. Nobody is trying to devaule Richards. Just the plain simple facts that his Test average is not great, he was a middle order bat who got time to rest between innings compared to someone like Gavaskar and who did not play against the fearsome fast bowlers on his side (in tests) or look comfortable against top quality spinners. To a man, the famed spin quartet from India did not rate him higher than Sobers or Tendulkar. It also seems like you have not seen or heard of one Ken Barrington. He averaged close to 59 in Tests. Take your time and do your arithmetic. You will find that 59 is higher than 50! And the spin quartet rate Barrington as the most difficult batsman they bowled against among right handers, not Viv who was always shaky and chancy against quality spin. It doesn't matter whether Viv played against his fast bowlers in first class games or in his backyard and scored hundreds. Had Viv played in the era of Warne and Murali his average might be even lower.

  • wasimpakistan on February 23, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    It is all hype and no substance! Viv Richards only average around 40 against top teams such as australia and pakistan who had best fast bowlers alongwith westindies. People who are lining up to call viv Richards are one who has only heard stories and feel compel to feel the same. It need courage to call naked king a naked king when everyone else was praising his magical cloth!!

  • NEUTRAL_FAN on February 23, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    I have to laugh at persons bringing up all sorts of petty, false information in an effort to devalue Sir Viv's status of a great! Rubbish like: "he batted 4 and 5" (for his whole career? Where does Yosuf, Sachin, Kallis and Chanderpaul bat today?), "oh he only averaged 50" (you think it was easy to avg. 50 in those days?), "he didn't have to face the W.I. pace quartet," (you think he didn't have to earn his selection playing against them? You think they all played on the same team for First Class cricket as well?) Lol, I don't think many of the critics even listen or read what they are saying or typing. They also conveniently leave out the fact that he was MILES AHEAD of his generation IN ODI's! Or that he had a better record as Captain even though his team was not considered better that Clive Loyd's line up! There is nothing wrong with criticism BUT put some effort and thought into it before you post on website!

  • MaruthuDelft on February 23, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    Gavaskar was too slow in scoring runs to be considered a great player; Zaheer Abbas was hyped for sometime but when he faced Australia or West Indies especially away from home he froze; Greg Chappel needed too long to get going like old cars; I did not see Gream Pollock and Barry Richards; they may deserve to compare with Viv Richards; Tendulkar has always looked 2nd best to Lara; and Lara would fail a whole series. Only Bradman can be considered better than Viv; also when Viv decided to play an innings with straight bat - occassionally - even Gavaskar's bat looked angled and shallow; when Lillee - Richards equivalent in Bowling - was firing at over 90 mph Richards made him look like a medium pacer; see the WI vs Australia 1978/79 series; he batted at 3 or above between 1975 and 1981; but surely Richards makes no friends with his words; he is a little less in the upstairs!!! you would have felt that when he captained WI; the results were due to the fact he inherited a great team.

  • kool_Indian on February 23, 2010, 15:50 GMT

    @ian_ghose - y dont u step back and see all the messages. Who started to take other batsmen like SRT,SG, Viru, etc names? You throw stones on us and expect us to take hits n lie down. 'There are many things to cricket which are greater than Tendulkar, Gavaskar and India put together' - that one line is more than enough to understand how much hate you have against us. I haven't seen Viv play or SG play or bradman play, so I dont know how stylist or how great they were - they must have been awesome. I rem'ber SG talking abt Viv and his praise for Viv's style of play so Viv must hv been really cool to watch. We appreciate good things but when someone takes names of our idols when it wan't even about 'em - you cant expect us NOT to reply.

    @ NEUTRAL_FAN - comeup with better name, on one hand, you take Viru's name in your first comment and then trying to teach others in 2nd comment - talk abt being neutral - lol. @SatyajitM - very sensible comment, cheers! Lets see if my comment is posted.

  • Pesu on February 23, 2010, 14:40 GMT

    When we talk about Viv we should think about the bowling attack, during his time the bowling was also a dominant factor.There were massive set of excellent bowlers and high competition. He played against everyone and dominated them in all ways. Now we don't have such bowling attack and just batting dominating everywhere. Our Indian players are not comparable to Viv style and match winning innings. I am not trying to pull Sachin down but he is not a match winner.

  • mishvik1 on February 23, 2010, 12:37 GMT

    @Jelanichem, his record against Lillee and Thompson West Indies in Australia, 1975/76 (Avg 38.72) Australia in West Indies, 1977/78 (Avg 31) West Indies in Australia, 1979/80 (Avg 96.5) West Indies in Australia, 1981/82 (Avg 26.66) Australia in West Indies, 1983/84 (Avg 54) West Indies in Australia, 1984/85 (Avg 42.75). I believe it says all. The only aberration seems to be 1979/80. @ to all, personally I am also a big fan of Viv (can't etch out the One-day inning (170 odd) against England when he could hit even a Yorker for a six). But I am equally big fan of Gavaskar Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting (endless list). I am a little surprised that no one here is talking about the Wall. I don't think anyone could be as selfless and unassuming as Dravid. A lot of credit for India reaching NO. 1 position goes to him. The best thing is to enjoy all (irrespective of nationality), instead of comparing.

  • Jelanichem on February 23, 2010, 9:45 GMT

    I have seen them all since the 70s. With respect to sheer skill, Viv Richards is the best I have seen. The man could do just about anything with that bat in his hand. Some one posted that he batted at 4 - 5. For the records, he batted at 3 from 76 - 84 and average 61 in that period. People keep talking that he never face genuine pace and all kinds of bull. He face Lillee and Thompson at their fastest when there were no bouncer rules. Dont forget the Islands played against each other. I personally have heard Holding, Marshall, and Garner says he is the best they ever had to bowled to. If he had to play in this era, with these feather bed piches and girly rules, even at his worse he would be better than all the mediocres that these rules have made "Great players". I close with a quote from Clive Loyd about Viv, quote, "I have seen many great batsmen, but I am still to see batsmen play the shots that this man can play. Words cannot describe the greatness of this man", end quote

  • Quazar on February 23, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    One of a kind, indeed! Against fast bowling, Viv Richards has to be the most destructive batsman of all time (while Sunny Gavaskar was probably the best in terms of defence, technique and temperament - the man averaged 66 against the mighty WI!). But against QUALITY SPIN, Viv was much more mortal...in fact, he famously struggled against India's BS Chandrashekhar (somewhat similar to Kumble's style). Against quality spin, I concur with Shane Warne - Lara was the most destructive on his day, while Sachin Tendulkar was the best day in day out (other modern worthies include Ganguly, Sehwag, VVS, Siddhu, Salim Malik, Aravinda, Anwar and Azhar).

  • KiwiRocker- on February 23, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    It's amusing how Tendulkar and Sehwag fans keep comparing King Richards to them. For God Sake article is about Sir Viv Richards. Man was a legend. What have Tendulkar and Sehwag won for India? How many world cups? How many ICC multi country tournaments? Just by scoring tons of runs on batsman friendly pitches does not make you a legend. Lets also do not forget quality of bowling. Tendulkar and Sehwag hardly faced two of best bowlers of 90's the 2 W's. It is an excellent interview with King Richards and let us enjoy it. Viv Richards literally won first two world cups for West Indies. I promise no one will remember Tendulkar, Sehwag in 10 years time(unless you are from Indian fan club offcourse) but no one will forget Sir Viv Richards! I can never forget what a great sportsman he was. Man did let his bat talk rather than his mouth!

  • BRNUGGET on February 23, 2010, 8:40 GMT

    He played in Packer WORLD series which was the toughest cricket in history ag the fastest bowlers in history without helmet. Bowlers used to quake when he came in to bat and crowds swelled to watch him bat. He had style, imposing presence, flair, unmatched charisma and the demenour, very few can match that. The walk and swagger put fear into bowlers hearts. Today's cricket does not have the pace men that was there then and the pitches then were so quick. I saw him in flesh, he was in one word AWESOME and MATCHLESS. I am still alive to see today's batters..none can match him, forget records, they are only nos. He is the among the top 5 greatest of all times for all times.

  • BRNUGGET on February 23, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    The intvw brght back wonderful memories. Some posts here say 'CALLING SIR VIV an all-time great is A JOKE'. They are JOKES. Do they know what they are talking? They have not seen REAL MANLY CRICKET playing pure pace wTht protective gear. Sir Viv played with no helmets and much of today's armour, just 2 protve gear abdomen guard and pads cum gloves and faced some of the fastest bowlers of all times, Lillee, Thommo, Imran, Pascoe, Hogg, Snow, Willis, Procter, Hadlee, Kapil, Akram, etc and his own mates , Roberts, Holding, Daniel, Croft, Garner, Clarke, Late Marshall, etc in local WI matches and counties & spinners like Qadir, Underwood, Bedi, Chandra, Pras. etc

  • SubairPK on February 23, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    I think he is the guy, who has taken out the sole of cricket from England to other part of the world.

  • mandi on February 23, 2010, 8:11 GMT

    great message to all who can follow him

  • waspsting on February 23, 2010, 7:57 GMT

    @mishvik... couldn't agree more. i loved watching richards bat, and he scored enough runs to justify his greatness. however... generally speaking people get WAY WAY CARRIED AWAY by his mannerisms, psychology, attitude etc. and give it precedence over the acutal business of scoring runs. I rate both Gavaskar and Greg Chappell as better players from the same era, and there's little to choose between Viv and Javed Miandad and Allan Border. Most enjoyed watching Viv bat of the lot though, of course. To add to the stats you provided - Viv had a pretty poor record in inter-island cricket against Barbados and Jamaica - the two teams with the best fast bowling attacks. Though I have to say, England was a pretty decent pace bowling line up for most of Richards' career - and he did score well against them. On the whole... Agree with you 100% - but experience has taught me this is a topic beyond reasoning with.

  • CricFan24 on February 23, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    ww113 on (February 22 2010, 14:10 PM GMT) Great batsman,goes without saying.But too full of himself. Well Put. It's one thing showing off a bit of bravado to intimidate bowlers on a cricket field, but it is another thing to behave stuck up ALL the time. And just because he "swaggered" and was a happy hooker, or just because So and So had "oh so much flair" or whatever certainly does not make that person the Best batsman. LOTS AND LOTS of other variables have to be factored in.

  • mishvik1 on February 23, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    Some of the comments here make me wonder if we are discussing a boxer or a cricketer. Swagger, Fearsome……… Some have written that he was the best batsman against pace. Was he really? Just check some stats. In those days, only 4 teams really had pace. Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand (to some extent) and his own team. And check his awesome record against these 3 teams. (91 Innings; 3744 Runs; 43.5 Avg). Lucky that he did not face any of his own bowlers. And his record against 2 teams, which were still playing Victorian era cricket, India and England (91 Innings; 4796 Runs; 57 Avg). People also have been degrading Gavaskar, forgetting he had an awesome run against West Indies (48 Innings; 2749 Runs; 66 Avg). Test cricket is not about bravado. Gavaskar had no choice but to play to save the match. Whereas West Indies had the best opening pair in the world, followed by Lloyd, Kalicharan and Viv himself. On top of that a pace battery, which made a total of 150 also defendable.

  • Prashob1982 on February 23, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    @ Cricinfo - I would like to know who s Viv Richard's Favourite batsman among yhe present lot.....and specially his opinion on sehwag and the way he plays......and also his take on the best pullers and hookers n the game 2day, two shots, which he thrived on, in his time.....

  • sosbo on February 23, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    Having seen the great man bat many times I have no doubt he is the best batsman since the 70s. Yes plenty have better stats but King Viv played against some of great fast bowlers with no helmet, without the advantage of modern bats, on grounds that were not roped in and on tracks that were not prepared to favor the batsman as is the practice today. If a young King Viv were playing in this era, I would hate to think what he would achieve.

  • crickethistory on February 23, 2010, 0:58 GMT

    Great interview! Enjoyed reading Viv's thoughts. In 35 years of watching cricket I consider him to be the best batsman I've ever seen; by a long way. He was great to watch; the bowlers he faced were top quality; the pitches he played on were less favouring for batsman; he never wore a helmet; yet he totally dominated the bowlers. The great Imran Khan once said that Viv was the only batsman he feared bowling to. I'll never forget when Rodney Hogg hit Viv in the jaw with a bouncer in a test match which would have floored most batsmen. Viv just rubbed his jaw, faced up to the next ball and hit Hogg for six. I agree with Viv about World Series Cricket. It was the best and toughest cricket I've ever seen. These games should be officially recognised and the stats should be official. I'd love to see footage of WSC out on DVD. For those younger people who have never seen footage of Viv Richards try to watch some of him. He was a great, great batsman, brilliant feildsman and top all rounder!

  • cooldude0503 on February 23, 2010, 0:25 GMT

    Somebody already mentioned couple of players that are comparable to Viv Richards. The only people I can think of is GILCHRIST and SEHWAG. No other. I mean not even Yuvraj, Tendulkar, Gayle, Ponting, Lara...have that kind of SWAGGER.

    Iam ghose you comments are unnecessary. Most Indians loved Vivian Richards. You can see Sunil Gavaskar while commenting praises WI highly every game. India always had love for WI and tell you the truth, love just keeps increasing.You can see that by how WI players are auctioned in IPL.

  • MiddleStump on February 22, 2010, 23:45 GMT

    Come on folks, I have seen Viv play live and on tv. Richards was a great batsman no doubt and he was nominated by Wisden as well though that is certainly dubious. His test average is just over 50, and he did not have a triple century. He didn't wear a helmet, so what? Nobody did for over a hundred years until the 80's. And the earlier greats played on uncovered pitches. Richards was a middle order batsman at number 4 or 5. He had time to rest between innings, never had to bat against some of the most fearsome fast bowlers of his time since they were on his side. Somebody like Gavaskar had a more difficult challenge, playing against all the top ranking fast bowlers of the world, and opening the innings to boot. Viv was always a bit shaky against top class spin. He could never master the Indian spin quartet either in the 74 series in India or the home series in 76. Comparing him to Sobers and Sachin?! Don't even think about it.

  • mgzak on February 22, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    I remember seeing Viv bat at the Queen's Park Oval in 1976 against India and he made 2 centuries in 2 test matches. Viv destroyed Bedi and Chandersakar. It was the first time I ever saw a batsman move to the square leg umpire and place the ball ferociously past point. He did this out of sheer arogance but it was great to watch. Even after watching Lara and Tendulkar, I can still say that Viv was the greatest human being I ever saw hold a bat.

  • Play_Hard_But_Fair on February 22, 2010, 21:30 GMT

    Fear of bodily harm doesn't necessarily equate to greater pace: even a 90k spinner could inflict as much bodily harm as a tearaway from yesteryears if you remove (say) the pads, gloves and the jewel guard. I don't agree that today's bowlers are any slower, on the contrary they might be faster - the fact that batsmen stay out of harm's way is due to the protective gear (not lack of pace). Every era has great batsmen and bowlers - so lets not introduce these variables (pace/protective gear etc.) to belittle today's batsmen.

  • on February 22, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    I remember a time when my late dad use to tell me that Richards, Gavaskar and Greg Chappel were no match to Vijay Hazare and Manjeraker. In response, when my grandfather used to counter that by saying that Manjerekar and Hazare were no match to Lala Amarnath and Mohammad Nissar. And I see the same attitude here that Sehwag is no match to Richards. I followed Richards very closely in my childhood. he was quite awesome, but the older generation never acknowledged that. So, it's not surprising Sehwags is not appreciated by many who watched Richards. But IMHO, if you must compare players of different eras, I have not seen any player that can destroy bowling like Sehwag does as often and as long as he does since I started following cricket in 1970s. Gilchrist and Richards and Younger Tendulkar are a fair way behind him in terms of destroying bowling. Beside Richards aura diminished quite a bit in his last 2-3 years (Sehwags might too later in his career).

  • pagar on February 22, 2010, 18:44 GMT

    He was a great batsman but he hung around for the last 2 years of his career. He should have retired in 1989. As he got older, he found making those audacious shots more difficult but he did not bother to change his style resulting in a big drop in his average. His performance against Pakistan which was definitely the second ranked team during the 80's was about average. As to his comment about "not being wrapped in cotton wool", I guess he did not have to struggle against a quartet of some of the finesh pacemen in the history of cricket.

  • KraNe on February 22, 2010, 18:08 GMT

    Viv Richards was truely the most destructive batsman in his era of cricket and if he did not play cricket .... nobody would have seen the Tendulkar's or the Lara's...the Sehwags or the Inzi's... the list is still not complete.But who cannot forget the man who literally toyed with bowling and particularly the English attach.Thanks to him we could relive the glory of the powerful Windies days which won two consecutive World Cups...He bowled a teasing little off breaks and allways chewed gum as if he was in a park and was not knowing what was happening or the bowler not knowing to whom he was bowling to...The bounderies flowed and records were rewritten .. but who cannot forget the last ball of the West Indies Innings of the '79 world cup when Viv moved across his stumps and hit a Yorker over mid wicket for a SIX ! .. and the bowler was an Englishman...helplessly Mike HENDRICK!

  • ansram on February 22, 2010, 17:41 GMT

    Very difficult to compare batsmen of different era. Viv was definitely top class but his comparison with modern greats is unwarranted. Todays batsmen even though they enjoy better bats, relatively weaker bowlers and certain batsman friendly laws are being watched by a couple of dozen of prowling cameras. Close decisions formerly almost always went in favour of the batsman. Today it is a different story. Caught behinds, LBWs, runouts are easily given against the batsman these days. Rival teams study a batsmen thoroughly by closely observing him in slow motions - these techniques were primtive in the seventies and before. Todays bowlers and batsmen face more challenge than in the past due to the advance in technology and the mediocre is easily sorted out.

  • ian_ghose on February 22, 2010, 17:04 GMT

    What a player! The man for whom the term 'Master Blaster' was coined. For all those who want him to eat a humble pie - thats not arrogance...thats SWAGGER - something that comes naturally to people from that part of the world and came especially well to Viv Richards. For all those 'I love Sachin Tendulkar to death' fanatics, this article is about Viv Richards..go to school and learn to read...there are no words in the entire article that resemble either 'Sachin' or 'Tendulkar'. What else...Viv Richards struck fear in the hearts of fast bowlers..don't think anyone went sleepless with the thought of bowling to Sunil Gavaskar, if anything he bored everyone to sleep. Please don't shamelessly exhibit your ignorance of the game of cricket. There are many things to cricket which are greater than Tendulkar, Gavaskar and India put together. Learn to live with it and if possible (but highly doubtful) appreciate it. @Blog-owner - do everyone a favour - print this comment.

    IG

  • SureshAmsterdam on February 22, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    No question Sir Viv was a frighteningly destructive batsman, and arrogant to boot. So what? That's who he is and I appreciate his direct honesty and simple approach - beat the fieldsmen, make runs. He proved himself countless times in the highest levels of cricket and has no need to explain or justify himself to any of us. Next, the pointless comparisons. Can Superman beat Batman, or Spiderman beat Wolverine? Who cares? The interesting thing is how other cricketers share Sir Viv's qualities. Sehwag is similarly simple-minded about batting and wants to score runs as quickly as possible. Tendulkar, Ponting, Yousuf, Dravid, Inzy, Lara, Laxman, Gavaskar, Warne, Murali, McGrath, Lee etc. have the same fierce pride and determination, but channel it differently. Pietersen and Afridi have a similar swagger. Miandad, Lillee, Hayden showed the same streetfighting instincts. Why compare? Why not simply enjoy the parade of talents on display? These are the best of the best; sit back and enjoy!!!

  • muddassir1 on February 22, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    The finest batsman of the 20th century as far as style is concerned(haven't ever seen Bradman play).He was so pleasing on the eyes and was just a sheer joy to watch.There have been other great batsmen and some may have better stats,but when it comes to entertainment,no body can match Sir Richards. I have seen him play a lot on Tv but the only time I saw him play in person was in the 70s when the West Indies were touring Pakistan and they were playing the President's Eleven in Rawalpindi.On the final day the West Indies lost 4 quick wickets and were in a little bit of trouble,then came Sir Richards and Clive Lloyd and what followed was just fantastic.The shots that flowed from both their bats were just like bullets whizzing past the fieldsmen who were in awe as much as the spectators.The timing and the brute force of the shots was just amazing and you never wanted that spectacle to end.But all things come to end and so has Viv Richards career but the memory will live on forever.

  • Zahidsaltin on February 22, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    For me bardman, tandulkar, lara or any other batsman in the history of cricket is no where near this Magician as their names will be spelled with a small letter as compared to RICHARDS. The walk he walked to the crease, chewing gum, relaxed, a body language of a big boy on the block whom all others try to avoid or try to respect with a sheepish gesture....I cant forget that all. I cant forget those mighty shots he used to play where he will take on likes of Imran and lille and hit their of-side balls to mid-on boundries for six, and doing that his style would just be as Mohammad Ali would small punch a 3 year kid. The wickets he played on without all those woolen rapes and helmets; and the quality of fast bowlers he faced, the limitless bouncers encountered with effortless shots... I remember all those friends who never liked cricket also used to watch his innings. Cant forget the honour of shaking hands with him when WI practiced at our college ground before start of test in multan.

  • PrinceofPortofSpain on February 22, 2010, 15:35 GMT

    Viv Richars said that he was proud of making test centuries in front of his home crowd in Antigua. How does he and his Antigua people feel after seeing Brian Lara make 375 and 400* in front of them? Who do the Antiguans feel was the better batsman?

  • aniketsaggi on February 22, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    King Viv..the man! As someone said here....he is comparable only with Sobers and Bradman. And please do not compare sachin, lara, ricky ponting with King Viv...he was in a league of his own! Still love watching tht swagger and his batting prowess in the reruns..

  • Beazle on February 22, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    I have no doubt that Viv was a better player than Sachin. Which is not to take anything away from Sachin who, by any standards, is a great player. But Sachin does not really play match winning innings- Viv did. Sachin is more the accumulator indeed, opposition teams fear Sehwag much more than they do Tendulkar. Indeed for this reason, I also rank Lara above Tendulkar.

    So- I am afraid I am going to have to disagree with my Indian friends -this Englishman votes for Viv !

  • DeepakShah on February 22, 2010, 14:41 GMT

    Great batsman, but the comments about helmets and arm-guards is utter nonsense. If he wanted to play "as men should", maybe he should have played without a box-guard to protect his jewels. That would be very manly and virile. Come on Viv, you are one of the all-time great batsmen. You don't need to talk down other great batsmen who use the protection that is available today.

  • Pesu on February 22, 2010, 14:40 GMT

    No one to compare with Viv. If we have watched him playing then we wont forget him for life. Master of all time. Its a joke to compare the ones playing today with Viv. I am an indian and i support Indian team but i hate comparing any indian player with Viv. Our players are not playing cricket with passion and enthusiasm. They just play for themselves and money. Its not interesting to watch them scoring hundreds and etc.... Ye this is what i think and everyone has their own thoughts.

  • NEUTRAL_FAN on February 22, 2010, 14:13 GMT

    @KITTY 71...This is not a Sachin interview! This is a rare opportunity to focus on 1 of the 5 Wisden Cricketers of the Century. Come on, show some sportsmanship! Oh and by the way...considering Viv Richards had to play DOMESTIC competitions, it means HE FACED THE W.I. ATTACK both in W.I. and in English county, more than any1! Never thought of that huh?

  • SatyajitM on February 22, 2010, 14:12 GMT

    An all time great no doubt. But some posters are projecting as if he was the only good player around. One certain SM Gavaskar played against same set of bowlers (actually better, as he had to face WI bowlers and Viv faced Indian bowlers in return)and still averaged slightly more than him in tests. Gavaskar too didn't have the luxury of helmet. Other two great batsmen of that generation Greg Chappel and Miandad were no way worse than him in test cricket (probably better). Viv Richards is probably best ODI batsman (closely followed by Sachin). He was more popular than others due to his style of playing and off field charisma. The whole point of not using protective gears just goes too far. If you grow up without helmet and it's made available by the end of your career, you may not feel too comfortable using it. Just ask millions of two wheeler commuters in India, who abhor helmet as they grew up without it. Not using available protective gear is not bravery but unnecessary foolhardiness.

  • ww113 on February 22, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    Great batsman,goes without saying.But too full of himself.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on February 22, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    An all time great. Cricket is not only about facts and figures but about the feelings a cricketer arouses in his teammates and opponents. Richards was feared by his opponents, he had an intimidating swagger, fast bowlers like Thomson, Lillee and Imran were straining to knock his head off - that is the context within which to understand his decision not to wear a helmet. Anyone who can play 2 years of Kerry Packer cricket (against the greatest fast bowlers of his era) without a helmet is almost superhuman - it was during Kerry Packer cricket that helmets first began to be worn. What is more - he invariably delivered when it mattered most - whether hitting a century in the world cup final in 1979, hitting a century in the Gillette Cup final for Somerset, or hitting a century in the first test in his home ground of Antigua. When homage is paid to such a noble spirit of cricket, don't even THINK of mentioning anyone else's name in the same breath.

  • Subra on February 22, 2010, 13:30 GMT

    A correction - Mr Hooves, you can't have 6 byes. A six is onlt awarded for ahit off the bat!

    Yes, my admiration to King Viv of Antigua - no helmet and he took on the likes of Lilee and the fat bowlers of the Packer circuit.

    Siva from Singapore

  • dreaddy on February 22, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    after reading some of you guys comment, viv did not just went after the other bowlers of the world, he also had to play against the west indies fast bowlers. please dont forget that there was shell shield tourney in the caribbean. you had to perform consistently to make west indies team in the local competition. he is kind of right about playing in this era. it would have nice to see him bat in this era... especially against australia and south africa. RICHARD THE WARRIOR.

  • 200ondebut on February 22, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    Viv - was a true great. The ultimate warrior - a cricketing matador. He played cricket like it should be played - always coming forward and never going back.

  • CricFan24 on February 22, 2010, 12:49 GMT

    The MOST incredible thing about some of the ridiculous comments in here are the bringing in of Tendulkar into an article about Viv and which doesn't even mention Tendulkar at all!! The anti Tendulkar brigade have a serious beef up or what?!

  • Vakbar on February 22, 2010, 11:55 GMT

    The Best of The Best....on a different planet to any other player of his era or since...Only sobers and bradman are really comparable. You only have to ask Lillee, Imran, Botham, Willis, Holding and Marshall, Garner et. al. who the best was and you'll realise how special this guy was.

    There is no-one to compare to The King in the Modern era. Guys like Sehwag, Gilchrist, Peitersen, Ponting, Tendulkar are fabulous, brilliant players. But take off their helmets, even on today's flat pitches and weaker fast bowling, and you'll see very different players.

    Ahh... them were the days, me-lad...when men were men and real gladiators fought in the ring! They're all soft now.

  • Hooves on February 22, 2010, 11:48 GMT

    I'm so very bored of Sachin Tendulker's name popping up in these comments. Viv was Viv, Viru is Viru, Sachin is Sachin. I had the pleasure of seeing Viv play for Somerset once or twice as a small boy. He was a mavellous thing to see, especially ona a small ground like that. I also saw Joel Garner dig a bouncer in on that same ground and it cleared the boundary behind the keeper for 6. Beat that.

  • on February 22, 2010, 11:16 GMT

    I am great admirer of West Indian Cricketers Specially Sir Viv Richard and Brain Lara. It was always great fun to see him on field. Good Leader and excellent batesman.

  • Jamesinsnow on February 22, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    Watching Viv at the crease in the 5th Test at the Oval, 1976, is almost funny - he's so confident he's going to smash every bowler out of the ground. And he does. Must have been scary to bowl to. If I had a choice of watching a hundred by any batsman, I'd be deciding between the grace of Gower and the destruction of Richards.

  • Kitty71 on February 22, 2010, 11:04 GMT

    Yeah agree he is a legend but just because he is a legend doesn't make Sachin anything less.Sachin is by far the best Test and one day cricketer in the world.No matter what the caliber of Vivian Richards is but how can you diminish the efforts of Sachin just for having helmet and arm guards.When Vivian Richards started playing i think Helmets weren't there but in the fag end or somewhere near the middle of his career they started coming that doesn't mean to say that he is great because he didn't wear helmet.Even Sunil Gavaskar didn't wear helmets he had a skull cap.But Sunil Gavaskar also faced the deadly West Indian bowlers where Viv had the privilege of not facing them.Like wise it is not advisable to compare the players of different era.At the time of Viv the camera angles were not that perfect and also not many people used to play like him.So he was super impressed by one and all.But now everyone plays like Viv and even more than him.I have never seen anyone batting like Sehwag.

  • Avid.Cricket.Watcher on February 22, 2010, 10:18 GMT

    You know, Viv was undoubtedly a King of the sport…and the REAL Master Blaster. I wish I could have seen him live at his peak (instead of some highlights)…esp against the better bowlers (pace and spin). HOWEVER, having read some of his interviews (including this one) I have to say that he also has some off-putting aspects…too much pride (i.e. too little humility), excessive machismo (especially if he saw himself as an 'artist') and quite a bit of bitterness / jealousy against modern cricketers (due to more money and fame). I mean if being a man (no helmets, et al) was his main motivation, perhaps he should've joined the police or army at some point…coz cricket (IMHO) is about more than raw machismo (eg. determination, endurance, skill, spirit, art and fellowship). To keep on harping about just one quality (especially when the most lethal / frightening bowling lineup was actually on your side) is in a way disrespectful to other styles of cricketers, who also helped enrich our sport.

  • mojojesus on February 22, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    KING VIV INDEED !.. His so-called arrogance (as some people here put it) is a must in the real world out there. Sledging is just a cowardly thing practised by spineless creatures. Having such confidence in oneself is rare.. Take a bow KING!

  • on February 22, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    Modern day Sehwag. Cant compare him to Sachin. Sachin is the mixture of Richards and Sunil Gavaskar

  • KiwiRocker- on February 22, 2010, 9:36 GMT

    King Richards was unique. It's absurd comparing modern day batsman to King Richard. Tendulkar's Pontings , Sehwag's of this world may have scored ton's of runs however no one comes closer to the King. Cricket has never been the same since King Richards retired. This is a man who changed face of cricket in Caribbean. Personally, I think Sir Viv Richards was the best batsman of modern era just because of the impact he had on the opposition and it's not what he scored but how he scored. This was a legend who played against Thomas, Lillee and Imran. It's a shame that IPL and T20 circuses have changed cricket and it has become a so called business entity. This is a man who had strike rate of close to 100 in ODI's in the days when bowlers still had many things going for them. King Richard, Shane Warne and Imran Khan were the most influential cricketers for me post World War.II.

  • richard-munir on February 22, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    KING of cricket and still no one is there to challenge him, he was the most authoritative batsman in the world cricket ever entered in the ground. once he was batting no one else was there to stop him. he was the most powerful technically correct batsman who ever played. i also wish he could have been playing in present time of cricket and he will be standing next to MICHEL JORDON, TIGER WOOD or any immortal names in sports which he still does. that's what time is, no one can win over the time, and so sadly my KING you can not get any big reward now but the biggest reward for you is that there is no one like you until now and that is the biggest reward of all, until now the new generations are looking your video's and just only can dream to see you. but peoples like me who have met and seen you in action can only live in those memories forever and tell the stories forever the KING of cricket that i know is THE VIVIAN ALEXANDER RICHARD SIR.(even he does not liked to be called king)

  • Rajesh. on February 22, 2010, 8:18 GMT

    Viv Richards was Viv Richards......... none before like him and none after like him !! I feel fortunate to have watched him play. Today we have the Sehwag's and the Gilchrist's but Viv was the ultimate destroyer.....

  • Manush on February 22, 2010, 8:14 GMT

    Nice to look back. One of the true greats in Cricket and difficult to come closer to his style and achievements. Retired early like many good cricketers. He started off as an ordinary and hesitant defender against the famous spinners in India but grew in stature so fast and developed his own dynamic and arrogant style. Treat to watch.

  • jfaz on February 22, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    OH such a good article, very very good, only problem. you should have asked him about his thoghts on 20/20 cricket.

  • jackiethepen on February 22, 2010, 7:56 GMT

    Not matter how great a destiny, a budding player needs someone to believe in him. The young Viv was given the support and backing he needed from Brian Close. Lucky young man. My favourite quote is that he regarded himself as an artist. For all their hard hitting Gilchrist and Sehwag, daring though they are, don't have this dimension.

    As for the strutting it was fine for Viv. That worked for him. It doesn't mean all Caribbean players have to bat like that. Look at Lara. Viv Richards talks about not getting his reward. He means money. He had the joy of playing in his national team when it was top of the world and full of greats. Lara by comparison was an isolated figure of immense talent, when his team was on the slide. Viv was a gladiator but Lara was the great swordsman with the flashing blade.

    Utterly different in temperament, Lara did not strut, the two West Indian batsmen represent the spectrum of style in cricket. Tendulkar doesn't strut either and neither does Dravid.

  • ClaudiusWalter on February 22, 2010, 7:33 GMT

    A great interview, in original style, a rarity these days!, you talk to some of the so called experts, they will hide behind their current and past insecurities and tell you stuff which is obvious and of little value. Here is Viv at his best, talking straight from the hip, just like he played his Cricket. What a character!

    The world of Cricket regrets his early retirement, he was in prime form when he left the game, more out of differences with the West Indian board than anything else. Thats how it was he played the game, on his own terms.

    It is also a personal regret that I missed seeing him in action a little more. I have been fortunate to have seen him play since the early 80's till his retirement and yes make no mistake, THERE WILL BE NO OTHER VIV RICHARDS, no one even close.

  • OneoftheReserves on February 22, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    Sir Vivian Richards ... simply the best to his fans and also to quite a few of those who played against him!

  • TheOnlyEmperor on February 22, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    What makes Viv great is his consistency in performance with an attitude of fearlessness and it's that which led him to peaks, when others were found wanting. Fearless character is something that all people admire and respect and that's the memory that people cherish. It is this fearlessness that makes him a hero. The only person who comes closest to him in attitude is Sehwag, another hero cast in the same mold.

  • Pathiyal on February 22, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    i am being inspired through my veins after reading this. i have watched him batting. i felt like 'attitude on display', the gamesmanship comes next followed by victory. none can forget vivian richards as long as cricket exists in the world.

  • Theena on February 22, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    'On a personal note, I didn't wrap myself up in cotton wool - with a helmet, a chest guard, an elbow guard - I did it the way men should and I'm proud of that.'

    You tell 'em, Sir Viv.

    Great interview. My only regret is that I was too young to see Sir Viv in his prime. No matter - the archival footage and the folklore all tell us of a batsman quite unlike any other.

  • peterbarraud on February 22, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    It's not his hundreds that count, it's not his four & sixes that count, the only thing the made him King is the way he did what he did. He walked out chewing gum and as he walked off he'd spit the gum out and knock it away with this bat. He walked off with a swagger if he score 200 or if he scored zero. He was the King, the runs were just incidental. He was Picasso the others do graffiti.

  • Alexk400 on February 22, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    He was cricket's only gladiator. Only segwag comes close. But sehwag more entertainer than intimidator like VIV richards. Every time VIV takes the field , everyone know bowler will suffer irrespect of what he does.

    Sehwag case also same but VIV makes less risky shots compared to sehwag mainly because VIV was built like a ROCK.

  • on February 22, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    Awesome player, but arrogant even to this day. You would think as one ages, he would develop some sense of humility. The whole article is about how he 'showed the world and how thw hole world was against him' (except for his respect for Brian Close). Give me Gilchrist or Sehwag. Can bat as well as Richards, but has lot more humility (in spite of calling Bangldesh 'Ordinary').

  • NEUTRAL_FAN on February 22, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    Sir Vivian Richards is a man who has earned his swagger! The man was great and rightly one of the 5 Wisden cricketers of the century! His confidence created an aura and not one of arrogance but one of a proud elite. There are too too many young cricketers who did well at youth level (dolly stuff) and then puff out their chest with arrogance during their 1st Int'l. I think they should DOMINATE the game like Sir Viv did before they puff their chest out. I hear some people referring to Viru as "master blaster." ....As far as I'm concerned (even though I am a Viry fan) let Sehwag find his own title because THE TITLE OF MASTER BLASTER IS ALREADY TAKEN.

  • nawwabsahab on February 22, 2010, 5:47 GMT

    nobody and i mean ..."nobody"..can bat like viv...i started watching cricket when he was in his prime and still, i havent seen an stylish, aggressive, breathtaking thrasher like him. you have sachins, sanaths, gilchrists and so on but you dont have and wont ever have a viv richards. He was a true king during the old true fast bowlers era.

  • Sehwagology on February 22, 2010, 5:47 GMT

    The greatest batsman since Bradman, bar none! And the most destructive player of fast bowling ever. No batsman since has engendered as much fear or deference into the opposition.

  • boooonnie on February 22, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Great article from a great sportsman with a great attitude. Cricinfo would do well to get opinions from greats like this more often then so called experts who attempt to anaylise the game and end up speaking rubbish!

  • sabina2009 on February 22, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    I thoroughly enjoyed the interview of VIV Richards. He was one of the greatest batsmen of his time and he is regarded as one of the Greatest batsmen in the history of cricket. I was very small when he was at his best but I have seen most of his matches on records. I was completely blown away the way he used to play and punish the bowlers. The word 'Fear' was not in his dictionary. And at the end of the interview he rightly said as I quote: "If I was playing today, I would have been seriously rewarded for what I feel I would have given to the game." This is completely true. I do not see a master batsmen like him in today's game except for Sachin Tendulkar. I seriously feel that in today's world of YOUTUBE and Twitter and Facebook VIV Richards would not only be rewarded enough but he would have been extremely popular than before.

  • ShettyKiran on February 22, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    Viv ...... the King. Always lived life king size. I heard a lot about previous generation players. But my personal favorites been always Viv and Gavaskar. If i get a chance to see any of their innings i would proudly pay for it. I desperately wanted to see a gary Sobers innings. I heard he was a tiger of his generation.

  • svnp10 on February 22, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    I love this guy not just for his style of playing but for his character. He carried himself so well throughout his career. Can we have any other player of his caliber anytime? I don't know. The way he put it how he faces the game is marvelous, he is competitive and it helped cricket a lot. Not the least as he said it helped caribbeans a lot.

  • MiddleStump on February 22, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    Interview missed a key detail about Viv. He made his debut in Bangalore and failed against the spinners. Lloyd gave him another chance and selected him for the second test at Delhi. Everyone knew it was a make or break situation for him. Richards was clearly caught behind by Engineer off Venkat when he had just scored 12. It was clear to everybody except the umpire who judged him not out. Richards grew in confidence and made 192 in that innings. A great batsman had emerged on the world scene. Viv owes half his earnings to that umpire!

  • SunilPotnis on February 22, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    It does not matter how many hundreds Tendulkar scores or how many total runs he scores in his entire career, in my mind, there will no other batsman like Sir Richards, period. To bat without any comfort of helmet, chest guard and yet destroy the best of the bowling all around the world, you have to be the best of the best. Another important and a key difference between today's greats of the greats and Viv Richards, Richards could turn the match on a dime. Tendulkar has played more tests and scored more runs in the history of cricket, but the number of matches he has turned around on his own brilliance, one can count on fingers. When Richards played there were too many good players in his team and yet he was a sure shot match winner among those that played in the team. Richards was nightmare for the bowlers and his reflexes, picking up the line and length early, guts, and the ability to dominate when the chips are down is unparalleled.

  • on February 22, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    An absolutely great interview which shows how proud he was of playing and how he always seemed to relish the challenge. Most of the current West Indian players don't seem to have even a fraction of the pride that Sir Viv had when playing for the West Indies (or even Somerset).

  • brlara on February 22, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    oh,, ho,, ho,, ho,, Viv,, This article is just like an another assaulting 100 against 1980s English team,,,, Your word "SO LONG AS I'M BATTING YOU ARE GOING TO SEE MY FACE FOR A LONG TIME AND IT'S GOING TO HURT. BIG TIME",,, Wow, We feel pity on the bowlers at your receiving end. Another one from you "YOU HAD GUYS WHO DIDN'T BELIEVE IN THE BLACK MAN". I am an Indian, we all have great respect on you people and is that the only reason you didn't had a merry round with India when compared to the other teams. You can hear from many Indians crowning you as King Richards and your successor as Prince Lara,, Long live your legacies,, We all love you,, :)

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  • brlara on February 22, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    oh,, ho,, ho,, ho,, Viv,, This article is just like an another assaulting 100 against 1980s English team,,,, Your word "SO LONG AS I'M BATTING YOU ARE GOING TO SEE MY FACE FOR A LONG TIME AND IT'S GOING TO HURT. BIG TIME",,, Wow, We feel pity on the bowlers at your receiving end. Another one from you "YOU HAD GUYS WHO DIDN'T BELIEVE IN THE BLACK MAN". I am an Indian, we all have great respect on you people and is that the only reason you didn't had a merry round with India when compared to the other teams. You can hear from many Indians crowning you as King Richards and your successor as Prince Lara,, Long live your legacies,, We all love you,, :)

  • on February 22, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    An absolutely great interview which shows how proud he was of playing and how he always seemed to relish the challenge. Most of the current West Indian players don't seem to have even a fraction of the pride that Sir Viv had when playing for the West Indies (or even Somerset).

  • SunilPotnis on February 22, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    It does not matter how many hundreds Tendulkar scores or how many total runs he scores in his entire career, in my mind, there will no other batsman like Sir Richards, period. To bat without any comfort of helmet, chest guard and yet destroy the best of the bowling all around the world, you have to be the best of the best. Another important and a key difference between today's greats of the greats and Viv Richards, Richards could turn the match on a dime. Tendulkar has played more tests and scored more runs in the history of cricket, but the number of matches he has turned around on his own brilliance, one can count on fingers. When Richards played there were too many good players in his team and yet he was a sure shot match winner among those that played in the team. Richards was nightmare for the bowlers and his reflexes, picking up the line and length early, guts, and the ability to dominate when the chips are down is unparalleled.

  • MiddleStump on February 22, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    Interview missed a key detail about Viv. He made his debut in Bangalore and failed against the spinners. Lloyd gave him another chance and selected him for the second test at Delhi. Everyone knew it was a make or break situation for him. Richards was clearly caught behind by Engineer off Venkat when he had just scored 12. It was clear to everybody except the umpire who judged him not out. Richards grew in confidence and made 192 in that innings. A great batsman had emerged on the world scene. Viv owes half his earnings to that umpire!

  • svnp10 on February 22, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    I love this guy not just for his style of playing but for his character. He carried himself so well throughout his career. Can we have any other player of his caliber anytime? I don't know. The way he put it how he faces the game is marvelous, he is competitive and it helped cricket a lot. Not the least as he said it helped caribbeans a lot.

  • ShettyKiran on February 22, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    Viv ...... the King. Always lived life king size. I heard a lot about previous generation players. But my personal favorites been always Viv and Gavaskar. If i get a chance to see any of their innings i would proudly pay for it. I desperately wanted to see a gary Sobers innings. I heard he was a tiger of his generation.

  • sabina2009 on February 22, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    I thoroughly enjoyed the interview of VIV Richards. He was one of the greatest batsmen of his time and he is regarded as one of the Greatest batsmen in the history of cricket. I was very small when he was at his best but I have seen most of his matches on records. I was completely blown away the way he used to play and punish the bowlers. The word 'Fear' was not in his dictionary. And at the end of the interview he rightly said as I quote: "If I was playing today, I would have been seriously rewarded for what I feel I would have given to the game." This is completely true. I do not see a master batsmen like him in today's game except for Sachin Tendulkar. I seriously feel that in today's world of YOUTUBE and Twitter and Facebook VIV Richards would not only be rewarded enough but he would have been extremely popular than before.

  • boooonnie on February 22, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Great article from a great sportsman with a great attitude. Cricinfo would do well to get opinions from greats like this more often then so called experts who attempt to anaylise the game and end up speaking rubbish!

  • Sehwagology on February 22, 2010, 5:47 GMT

    The greatest batsman since Bradman, bar none! And the most destructive player of fast bowling ever. No batsman since has engendered as much fear or deference into the opposition.

  • nawwabsahab on February 22, 2010, 5:47 GMT

    nobody and i mean ..."nobody"..can bat like viv...i started watching cricket when he was in his prime and still, i havent seen an stylish, aggressive, breathtaking thrasher like him. you have sachins, sanaths, gilchrists and so on but you dont have and wont ever have a viv richards. He was a true king during the old true fast bowlers era.