Fast bowlers would try to kill me, and I had to attack: Richie Richardson

Richie Richardson with his floppy hat
Richie Richardson with his floppy hat

When we hear the name Richie Richardson, the first picture that comes to our mind is of him wearing a floppy hat and punishing the fast bowlers, hooking and pulling their deliveries all around the ground. Talking to Sportskeeda's Indranil Basu today, Richie Richardson revealed how it wasn't always the case.

"In my teenage years, I was a very defensive and boring batsman. I used to just hang in there, never trying to hit it out of the boundary. My coach was not happy with my batting."

Richie Richardson also shared the incident that changed his whole attitude towards batting. His coach had had enough and decided to test the capability of Richie Richardson to decide if he wants to continue with him.

"The coach had prepared a lively pitch. One afternoon, he gave rest to all our spin bowlers and asked me to bat against the faster bowlers. He told them that anyone who bowls a full ball at me will be sent back home."

When the short barrage started initially he tried to defend it out, but soon understood that it was not going to work. He felt that he was in a 'war zone' and the bowlers were trying to 'get him killed.'

"They were getting warmer and hotter with time. I could have gotten killed. That's when I realized that there was only one way to survive, attack. Attack is the best form of defence. And I suddenly started hooking the ball. Any ball pitched short was going for a six."

Richie Richardson recounted how the branches of all the nearby trees were under threat from his hook shots that day. The coach was really happy with the outcome of his experiment. Sir Richie Richardson recalls what he had to say at the end of the practice session.

"Now I know that you are going playing for Antigua."

This incident changed his approach to batting, especially while facing fast bowlers. Richie Richardson shared the practice drills that he used to sharpen his skills as well.

He revealed that he used to practice on concrete pitches which are much quicker than turf. He would ask the bowlers to bowl at him even at 10 yards, and he would face it without a helmet. He believes this is how he developed his reflexes against fast bowling.

Richie Richardson believes watching the ball is the key

Richie Richardson
Richie Richardson

Richie Richardson believes that if you keep your eyes on the ball, you cannot get hit on the head.

"I back myself, trust my instinct, trust my eyesight, that’s how I developed the ability to play fast bowling very well."

Richie Richardson opined that, with the introduction of helmets in the game, there were lot more players getting hit on the head. It could have been due to a sense of false security of protection and the batsman going for a lot more shots. But he asserted that one cannot be sure about the real reasons, and the playing conditions always change with time.

As we all know, Richie Richardson did not stop with playing regional cricket for Antigua & Barbuda, he went on to represent West Indies in 86 Test matches, out of which he was the skipper in 24 of them, and also in 224 ODIs. He scored 9 centuries against Australia, who were the team with the best pace attack at the time, along with West Indies.

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Edited by S Chowdhury
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