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Sir Viv Richards on a roll in India

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Archiman Bhaduri for CaribDirect

Staff Writer – Archi

Even at the age of 61, a good 22 years after putting up his pads, Sir Vivian Richards has an aura around him and that trademark swagger very much in place. The West Indian, who is now an advisor to Delhi Daredevils in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League, is still passionate about the game and talks at length about various topics with Indian journalists.

The West Indian great has a simple way to look at aggression.

“It’s just standing at the crease with guys swearing at you, telling you all sorts of things about your parenthood. If you got good substance, your presence at the crease will be enough. You have got to think you are the man, having your chest and chin up and never taking a backward step. One has to try and exhibit what batsmanship is all about. When you score a 100, it’s going to hurt a bowler more than anything else,” he said.

The batsman took a deeper look into the topic. “There are times when you also have to be confrontational. There are some bullies in cricket and nobody should be allowed to bully anyone. For me, if you confront me, I’ll finish the confrontation myself,” the former West Indies skipper said.

It’s inevitable to draw comparisons when one sees the brute power of another man from the Caribbean Isles — Chris Gayle. Is there a method to Gayle’s madness?

Sir Vivivian Richards

Sir Vivivian Richards.Photo courtesy commons.wikimedia.org

“Gayle realises that being destructive as he is, there is a need to dash all the time. Sometimes he takes time to play his way in and makes up for it later. I am sure Gayle plays the bluff a few times. While he’s there in the middle the fielders are sweating all the time, wondering when he is going to just go. I believe it’s like stopping at a traffic light – when it gets to green you have the chance to put the foot on the pedal,” he said about the Jamaican.

Chris Gayle Caribbean Premiere League

Chris Gayle. Photo courtesy bubblews.com

However, the original ‘master blaster’ believes that the job of today’s batsmen has been made easier with a lack of genuine speedsters around. “Regardless of how good a batsman you are, it’s going to be seriously tough to face a genuine quick. South Africa is a wonderful exponent of that and I doubt batsmen will be able to take liberty against a pace attack like that. They have the best bowling attack at the moment,” he said.

Sir Richards joined the Daredevils when the team was at a state of free fall but Richards was not bothered by that. For him, though, the mantra has always been ‘never say die’. “Last year, Delhi were certainly the Daredevils.

Regardless of the performance now, you can’t become bad overnight. Even Real Madrid and Barcelona took a hiding over the last couple of days (in the Champions League), but they are not bad teams. We have some key players missing and some younger players are slowly getting involved. I believe in never say die… my job is about keeping the hopes alive,” he said.

The West Indian has always loved following the game of Indian opener Virender Sehwag.

“Sehwag is a magnificent player and he may have lost form for some time. I would always have Sehwag in my team. They (players like Sehwag) may not get going all the time but when they do they can make up for all the losses,” he said.

Talking about batting in T20 format, he said “in this format the best batsmen should play most number of overs. I would have liked to open the batting, but would not take the first ball for sure. I like to take a look from the other end.”

Virender Sehwag

Virender-Sehwag. Photo courtesy blogs.bettor.com

But his batting philosophy remains the same even now. “Batsmanship is all about hitting the gaps. If you can’t hit the gaps, clear the boundary!” he said.

The West Indian remains an ardent fan of Sachin Tendulkar even now.

“I am a fan of Sachin. At times people don’t appreciate what they have in their midst. He is still not out of place in the modern game. He’s still a class act. I’ll never dare go say to him you should go tomorrow. He’s a modern day hero in a big way. If he wants to go to 50 I’ll allow him to go to 50,” he remarked.

And how come the great won’t express his views about West Indies cricket? “We have great talent in T20 cricket but I doubt West Indies cricket will move forward by only winning the World T20 Championship. The World T20 win gave a boost to the nation’s confidence and I hope this is passed on to the longer version,” he said



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