Criticism of Lara September 11, 2004

Richards holds his ground

Wisden Cricinfo staff

When Richards ruled, so did the West Indies © Getty Images

Sir Vivian Richards has hit back at suggestions that his presence and criticism undermined West Indies' recent tour of England, which ended in a humiliating 4-0 whitewash. The Wisden Cricketer had published an editorial - "Take out the snipers" - which suggested that a stream of disparaging remarks about Brian Lara and the team had done more harm than good.

"The most helpful thing Viv Richards and other legends of the Caribbean can do is retreat to a safe distance and let the current West Indies team get on with it," it had said. But Richards took strong exception to that, telling The Voice of Sport, "Everyone has their opinion. I have nothing further to say on the matter. The people who have made these statements are highly qualified to make them so I'm not bothered about that and I'll make them again if necessary. Because deep down, nobody can question my commitment to West Indies cricket.

"There is no one individual or two individuals who are bigger than West Indies cricket and that's it...I have nothing more to say. I've made some comments but I can't control how people interpret them."

Richards, who won 27 of the 50 Tests in which he led West Indies, was the pre-eminent batsman of his era, and served as the chairman of selectors till recently. He has had several disagreements with Lara over the past few seasons, and in a recent interview with the BBC, he said, "The side is in a bad way, and when you have a leader who cannot motivate, you have problems."