Legendary West Indies batsman Viv Richards is one of the best batsmen of all time. During his 121 Test match career, he smashed all intimidating fast bowlers such as England’s Graham Dilley, Australia’s Jeff Thompson, and Dennis Lilley without sporting any metal protector on his head.
He never showed any aggression through his face, it was his bat which answered all questioned and sledging of opposition bowlers. West Indies cricketers of 70s and 80s never sledged like Australians. It was Viv’s stare to the bowlers which was enough to kill all their enthusiasm.
Since his retirement, he is a different person. Unlike his attitude and swagger on the pitch, he is a very friendly person. Hence, during his maiden appearance at on Viu’s What the Duck 2 he spoke on his passion, music, friendship and life. Also read: Australia A’s tour of South Africa cancelled due to pay dispute
On rivalry with Len Pascoe
Vivian Richards, who played some of the best fast bowlers of cricket, once sledged by former Australian fast bowler Len Pascoe. “The first ball you miss you will go the hospital,” Pascoe said to Viv. But the West Indian didn’t respond.
“He gave me four deliveries and I am ducking and weaving and my cap fell off and I am dusting and I put it back on again and I knew the next delivery will be explosive, I am all prepared and then I smash the ball and it goes slightly above his head. I walk up to him and said to him, “The hospital guy could have been you,” Viv recounted the memory of his on-field rivalry with the Australian fast bowler.
On friendship with Bob Marley
Viv was also known for his love of music. He has collections of records of various singers across the world. One of his favourite singers was legendary Bob Marley. When the revolutionary West Indies team was dominating the world he once met Caribbean’s legendary singer Bob Marley, whose songs were the composition of reggae, ska, and rocksteady, was also influenced by West Indies cricket domination in the world. He also sang a few cricket classics.
Once Bob Marley was at West Indies team dressing room and invited the team to his hotel room. “At the Pegasus hotel. If anyone knows the Jamaican, they will know that they are a part of the Rastafarian movement you would know that most of the Rastafarians are a part of the green party. When I say green party, you would know what I mean about green party. They came to my room to meet the guys and I was just privileged to know that here is a guy whose songs you listen to, the inspirational side of things that Bob Marley would sing about,” Viv said. Also read: Happy Birthday Nitin! Virender Sehwag Sends Wishes to Makhaya Ntini
Since journalists had been staying there and waiting for juicy exclusive story; Viv had to say no to Bob Marley.
“Here is this guy in your room with twelve other members of twelve tribes of Israel in your room. That is special. But the funny part about it in the back I could them bum a fire and I am saying, ‘WOW’ what’s going on in here. It’s not allowed when you have sixty odd journalists in the hotel from England on the same floor. Nah that wasn’t the best thing at that time. And then I had to be brave and go to him and say, “Brother Bob, this isn’t allowed in here. I know I am doing something against your religion but our religion says No you cannot.” And he obliged. And the fire was put down,” Viv added.
On preventing Sachin Tendulkar from retirement:
Viv was also a great fan of Little Master Sachin Tendulkar like other former cricketers who were amused by the Indian’s batting prowess and humility. Viv, who was always regarded as the best batsman in modern era cricket, always put Sachin above him.
He always regards Sachin as the Shaolin master of Indian cricket. He recollects one moment when the little master rushed to him as he was going through the worst phase of his career after India’s early exit from the 2007 World Cup. Sachin was upset and was even considering retirement but it was Viv who asked him to continue.
Later, Sachin acknowledged how Viv helped his with his expertise to get rid of the phase.
“He stressed that I have plenty of cricket left in me and said, ‘You are not going to retire now.’ He had heard from a friend of ours that I was really depressed to a point that I was literally thinking of retiring. He told me that it’s only a matter of time that I get back so don’t take any decision now,” Sachin Tendulkar said.