Home > Features >

Viv Richards’s presence at the wicket intimidated even the fastest of bowlers!

Viv Richards's presence at the wicket intimidated even the fastest of bowlers!

The King of all that he surveyed! © Getty Images

By Karthik Parimal

“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are fearless. They are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.” Muhammad Ali



It was on this very day (March 7) 60 years ago a genius was born in St John’s, Antigua who would go on to change the face of international cricket. Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards redefined thinking how to play the game. He was destined for greatness, and this was evident in his very second Test in which he scored an unbeaten 192 in that 1974 debut series against the likes of Bishan Bedi, EAS Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan at Delhi’s Kotla. With every Test he played, the aura of invincibility got increasingly stronger.

He never wore a helmet in his life, yet right from the time he emerged from the pavilion with that characteristic swagger; his presence was intimidating to the finest and fastest bowlers in the world. Richards could hit where he wanted and how he wanted. There was no bowler in the world who could say that he wasn’t worried by the menacing presence of King Viv on the field.

Steve Waugh wasn’t the quickest of the bowlers by any means but had the ability to bowl at a decent pace that could catch the batsman unawares. In his autobiography Out of my comfort zone, Waugh fondly recollects his encounter with Viv Richards. As usual Richards had just come out to bat and assumed ownership of the ground, taking control of the tempo and mood of the game from the first ball he faced, playing whatever shot he felt like whenever he deemed it appropriate. So Waugh decided to increase his run-up speed and quicken the movement of his shoulder to add a yard more pace. Richards was caught off-guard as he was a split second late with his shot, taking the full impact flush on his forehead. Everyone waited for the Master Blaster to crumble under the impact. Instead, he responded to Waugh’s “Are you okay?” with “No problem, maan. It got me in the hard spot.”

Steve Waugh and the Australians couldn’t help but be impressed by the man’s body language and strength of character. Richards was a very, very proud man and it showed in everything he did – on and off the field.

Later, in a series that was dominated by the West Indian bowlers, owing to an untowardly comment by Tony Grieg that fuelled them further, Viv Richards offered them no respite with the bat as he plundered the English attack mercilessly. In that 1976 Wisden Trophy, ‘Smokin Joe’, as he was fondly called, had amassed 829 runs from seven innings at an average of 118.42. He scored 291 in the first innings of the fifth Test. Eight years later, the English bowlers bore the brunt of his wrath yet again when he scored an unbeaten 189 in a One-Day International (ODI). This innings is still considered by many to be the greatest-ever ODI innings.

No position was hopeless; it welcomed it as a challenge and turned into a positive force. When he got going, he took the bowlers to the cleaners. David Acfield, who never played a Test but had the experience of 420 first-class matches, famously said once, “If I glared at Viv Richards, he’d just hit me even further.” It was apparent that Viv left no stone unturned to strike fear in almost all bowlers of his time.

More than two decades have passed since the end of his playing career, yet the awesome aura of Richards lingers around the cricketing world. There have been many great players like Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis and Ricky Ponting after him to achieve incredible feats, but none could replicate the aura or strike fear in the bowlers like Viv Richards did. We will forever be indebted to him and his contribution to the game of cricket.

Happy Birthday, Sir Viv!
 

(If cricket is a religion and has many devotees, Karthik Parimal would be a primary worshipper. This 23 year old graduate student, pursuing his Masters in Engineering, could be an appropriate example of how the layers of what inspires, motivates and keeps one happy run deeply in our daily lives. He, unlike others, is not too disappointed about not making it big by playing for the country, but believes that he plays the sport every day with his heart by watching and writing on it)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test: Australia's practice session

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Kevin Pietersen saga: Stuart Broad, James Anderson saddened by bullying claims

Live Cricket Score India A vs Sri Lanka, warm-up match at Mumbai: India A maul Sri Lanka by 87 runs

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 2: South Zone lead by 32 runs at the end of second day’s play

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test at Abu Dhabi Day 1: Younis Khan reaches his 100

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in CAB S K Acharya Memorial Challenger Trophy final

Pankaj Singh hopes for good season with Rajasthan

KL Rahul aims to emulate AB de Villiers’ style of batting

Rohit Sharma gave a fantastic account of himself: Sanjay Bangar

Younis Khan 4th Pakistani to score 3 consecutive 100s

Highest identical scores in both innings of a Test

Younis Khan — perhaps Pakistan’s greatest batsman ever

India A vs Sri Lankans tour match: Players look to make the most of opportunities

Viv Richards: How did he perform against the West Indian quicks?

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

Apple replaces user’s iPad for free after NASA rocket mishap

Ek Hasina Thi: Is Dev coming close to finding out Durga’s real identity?

सेक्स टिप #16: अलसी का बीज योनि शुष्कता की समस्या से दिलाता है राहत

हैदराबाद : भारत में पहली बार चिकित्सकों ने अजन्मे बच्चे का दिल का ऑपरेशन किया

Saina Nehwal climbs to No 5 position in Badminton rankings

India A vs Sri Lanka: Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey star in 88-run win

Xiaomi poaches Donovan Sung from Spotify to lead international product development: Report

Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Parineeti Chopra- who rocks the high waist skirt more? Vote!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here