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)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (12:30 IST)   at Bulawayo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 16, 2014  at Galle

South Africa won by 153 runs

Photos

Gallery: India vs England 2nd Test at Lord's

Videos

Alastair Cook jokes about his bowling

India’s wins in England — from 1971 to 2014

Ravindra Jadeja knighted by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II

India’s win over England in 2nd Test at Lord’s: Twitter reactions

Ishant Sharma pummels England into submission as India clinch Lord’s Test by 95 runs

Ishant Sharma registers name at Lord’s honours board, takes 6 wickets in 2nd Test against England

Bhuvneshwar Kumar England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma MS Dhoni South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Sachin Tendulkar: Century at Perth in 1992 against Australia changed my career

Ishant Sharma latest to feature in Amul’s ad after India’s win in 2nd Test against England

Hashim Amla lauds Imran Tahir ahead of Sri Lanka vs South Africa second Test at Colombo

India tour of England 2014: Sourav Ganguly backs Alastair Cook as the skipper

Ishant Sharma signs deal with Cornerstone Sport

India vs England 3rd Test at The Ageas bowl: A sneak peek into England squad

Mohammad Irfan hopes Pakistani players will play in IPL

Stuart Binny and the selection conundrum for India’s third Test against England at Southampton

Can America be the ‘Land of Opportunity’ for cricket?

Graham Gooch’s fabulous numbers in all forms of cricket

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Ishant Sharma latest to feature in Amul’s ad after India’s win in 2nd Test against England

Diet Tip #23 – Switch to rice bran oil for better health

Taiwan plane crash: 51 killed as plane crashes during emergency landing

Apple OS X Yosemite beta will be available to the public from tomorrow

Alia Bhatt feels she is too young to work with Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir!

Sachin Tendulkar: Century at Perth in 1992 against Australia changed my career

BJP calls Sania Mirza ‘daughter-in-law’ of Pakistan, criticises Telangana for honouring her

Research questions satellite data over Antarctic sea expansion

Moon Moon Sen and Arindam Seal will also be honoured at Mahanayak Uttam Kumar Samman!

TransAsia Airways makes emergency landing in Taiwan, more than 50 feared dead

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here