Forever 63* at the SCG
I have watched cricket from 1960. Seriouly from at least 1965 when I was already playing grade cricket. Easily the two best batsmen I have seen in these forty odd years are Sobers and Richards. If you haven't seen him then trust me he was an absolutely amazing batsman - and stats have nothing to do with it.
I think Viv transformed cricket (once again) in a way no one had done before since ,perhaps, the Windies in the time of the three W's. He brought real joy back to the game. I have yet to meet anyone who did not enjoy watching Richards even when he was hammering the brains out of one's own side. I cant think of anyone else in these forty years of whom it has been so universally true. The admiration wasn't grudging as we had for, say Zaheer or Imran. Itwas as if we forgot who he was thrashing. You were lost in the grandeur of his dominant batsmanship.
And that dominance was the other thing. For all those who had not ever seen someone like Bradman here was a chance to see how a great batsman dominated and decimated anyone and everyone in the great list of bowlers who were playing at that time. The wicket, conditions, match situation just didn't seem to matter. Sobers was perhaps the same but coming at number six reduced the impact on the game that he would have had if he had batted at three like Richards or Bradman before them
I am convinced that Sobers batting so low in the order is one of the tragedies of cricket. If he had come in at three as he very well deserved by every single criteria of individual merit, the stat books would have been completely re-written. Bradman may have been as successful as Sobers was if he had batted at six but he wouldn't have been the Don.
So the joy he brought and the sheer dominance of one and all - bowlers, conditions, match situations.
Then. of course, was his attitude which a lot has been written about but for me there is one thing about Richards that almost no one talks of. His technique. He had a fantastic technique. You just didn't notice it because of the sheer power and apparent brutality of his stroke play. Watch his innings and replay the strokes in slow motion and you can see how good his technique was.
There may have been better batsmen than him and I can think of some like Hammond for example (a very close miss in my team) but I did not want to have no one from the modern era and for me Richards was the one from the last thirty years and maybe, who knows for sure, a worthy one even from the last hundred.
I have no way to know so while for Bradman, Brnes and Hobbs I used a combination of their stats and what others have said and written about them, for Richards (and Sobers for that matter) I have trusted my eyes.
Still it upsets me when they same things like ....well I won't say it, because it should not be repeated when mentioning the King
Another thing. Whenever I have seen Richards batting I have felt like picking up my bat and asking someone to bowl to me. Its amazing but true. He made the contact between bat and ball something you wanted to experience yourself everytime you saw him hit the ball.
FFS, Sean and SJS, where have I so much as once said that watching Vivian Richards was not an astonishing thing? (At least for most people - I can tell you beyond a doubt that I personally would not enjoy watching him thrash an England attack around like he did so often, but I'm different in this respect to most people)
I'm certainly not averse, at all, to Richards being listed in a list of some of the best cricketers, and the same thing with Lillee, for the precise reason ss mentioned earlier. For that same sort of reason I'd also not be averse to having Richie Benaud listed there. Lists like the Wisden cricketer of the century are about impact upon the game.
This is very much different to lists of who is the best batsman, which Richards deserves to be behind 10 names at least since the dawn of the 20th-century. Likewise Lillee deserves to be behind at least 5 seam-bowlers.
Last edited by Richard; 15-10-2007 at 05:08 AM.
Appreciating cricket's greatest legend ever - HD Bird...............Funniest post (intentionally) ever.....Runner-up.....Third.....Fourthcricket player"; "Bob"), 1/11/1990-15/4/2006
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watch it if you haven't . Its marvellous cricket.
Dennis Lillee to King Viv
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