India's consistency will be tested on West Indies tour: Richards

Sir Viv Richards also praised the young Indian cricketers Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Port of Spain (Trinidad): Jun 3, 2011

Whether India can go on to dominate world cricket consistently would be known by its second-string side’s performance against a not-so-strong West Indies in the upcoming ODI and Test series, feels batting legend Sir Vivian Richards.

“You can tell if it is the start of a dynasty when the bench strength is equally strong. To my mind, India has a very good pool of young cricketers,” said Richards.

Even though India’s opponents in the present series is a declining West Indian side, Richards felt it would be a pointer of things to come for the near future. India is presently the number one Test side of the world. They are also the reigning world champions of one-day cricket.

The Indian team presently touring West Indies is without top seniors such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh. It is packed with young cricketers who have barely cut their teeth in international cricket.

Many see the volume of cricket as well as the IPL as two reasons proving detrimental to the health of the game but Richards had a mixed opinion on the two thorny issues dogging world cricket.

“I love IPL. It has brought excitement to world cricket. People love to put their bum on the seats; they come to enjoy a game of cricket. The administrators though need to strike the right kind of balance. They must not kill the goose which lays the golden egg. They must not be caught on the wrong foot. The same is true for the volume of cricket. It could cut short international careers,” Richards said.

“It’s for the administrators to strike the right balance. Look at FIFA. They have club football which rolls out millions and millions dollars for its stars yet a national team is never debased. When it comes to top events, most national teams are at full strength,” he added.

Richards couldn’t quite tell if match-fixing had once again begun to eat away at the very core of the game. “I don’t know of any incident. I don’t have any proof. So I can’t tell if the authorities are doing enough or whether they need to do more.”

“All I know is if there is someone who accepts money to make his own team lose against the rival team, his own nation against another nation, it is nothing short of treason. The same punishment should come his way as is reserved for a traitor.”