Sir Vivian Richards - Hail the King
“One day cricket is like fast food. No one wants to cook.”
- Sir Viv Richards
Sir Issac Vivian Alexander Richards or fondly known as “The King” played a huge part in West Indies supremacy in world cricket. Those were the days when Sunil Gavaskar scored 30 odd runs from 200 plus balls in an innings but Richards, The King, notched up a century in just 56 balls against England. He had a phenomenal strike rate of 90 in limited overs cricket. It was he who redefined the batting style in the longer format. He was responsible for drawing more audience towards ODI cricket when it was at its budding state in international level.
His start at international level was promising. It displayed the master in the making. Through his fluent and flambouyant 192* against India at Delhi, he sent out a dominant statement in the international arena. In 1975/76 West Indies Tour of Australia, Richards registered a 103 ball 98 which went in vain. He and Lloyd, both scored at a rate greater than run-a-ball, all for a losing cause.
What world reminds of Richards carrier is his two innings.
One was his record 58 ball 110 runs against England. His carnage at St. John’s included 7 fours and 7 sixes. Leading England by 154 runs, West Indies began their second innings in a positive way. Haynes and Richards scored 61 runs between them to set England a mammoth 411 as target. England were bundled out for a mere 170 runs. No wonder, Richards was chosen as the player of the match for his innings.
Second was the 1979 world cup final. He didn’t score anything big in the earlier 4 matches of the tournament. But as the saying goes, cometh the hour cometh the man, Richards came out to bat full of confidence. His 157 ball 138 made the pendulum to swing West Indies way. However, 4 ducks in the lower order, restricted to the target of 286, which could have been way higher if Richards had a stable partner. What happened next was history. West Indies were crowned as the champions.
He scored 11 centuries in the limited overs format at a strike rate of 108.70.
When it comes to the longer format, Richards always had an hunger to bat for long periods of time. 13 of his 24 centuries are 125+ scores.
He was also know for his witty comments. He sledged in a way such that people loved it. In an instance, when Greg Thomas troubled Richards, he said “It’s red, round and weighs about 5 ounces” The very next ball, Richards slammed Thomas out of Ground and said , “Greg, you know what it looks like. Go ahead and find it! “.
In another instance, he sledged Gavaskar and said, “Man, it don’t matter where you come in to bat, the score is still zero“
The King has turned 60 today. I wish him a very Happy Birthday. Though he is aged, his innings are still fresh in our minds.