In West Indies Cricket news. A big slice of Richie Richardson’s early career in cricket would have been spent in the afterglow of the ‘Sunil Gavaskar effect’ in the Caribbean.
It was not surprising that it should be a reference point when the former West Indies batting great paid tribute to Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday.
“People in the Caribbean have worshipped Sunil Gavaskar. He has earned their respect for the tremendous skills and fearlessness he displayed while batting.
And now Tendulkar has a huge fan following there. To grab a share of the popularity that was reserved for Gavaskar is a tremendous achievement and a measure of the greatness of Tendulkar,” said Richardson, who is in India as the manager of the West Indies team.
“The 1992 World Cup in Australia was where I had my first glimpse of Tendulkar. I realised there that here’s a special one who could be compared with Brian Lara,” Richardson remembered, adding that the entire team is happy that they will be part of Tendulkar’s farewell series.
“We have thought of giving a fitting tribute to Tendulkar at his final Test in Mumbai. It’ll be a big surprise for him,” he added but made it amply clear what the team’s priority was when it came to the Little Master.
“We have come here with a mission to win the series, we’re here to stop him from scoring. We will not give him an inch… he has to earn every run,” said the Antiguan, who had followed in the footsteps of the great Vivian Richards to emerge as a great batsman in his own right in the eighties.
Richardson wouldn’t get into any comparisons between Sachin and Lara beyond saying “both are great players”.
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy has promised a ‘guard of honour’ by his team for Sachin at his final Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
“Sachin is an amazing cricketer, if not the best to have played the game. What he has done over the last 24 years is testimony to the person.
We are happy to be here, but we are here to play Test cricket and we have our own goals,” said the West Indies skipper.
“There’s bound to be a lot of excitement and celebration, but at the end of the day it’s the competition (that we are looking at).
If Sachin gets out to the first ball, it’s good for us. We’re not here to give freebies.”
Sammy recalled his first meeting with Sachin in 2005.
“I was at the MCC versus Rest of the World tsunami match at Lord’s. To come close to him is a massive honour,” he said.
“He has carried the weight for India for over two decades and yet has remained so humble. We as a team have a lot of respect for him. He has been a great ambassador for the game.”