Michael Holding on Viv Richards

Michael Holding on Viv Richards

Post by Vicky B. Vigneswar » Thu, 14 Jul 1994 22:44:22

Excerpt from Michael Holding's "Whispering Death"

[On Viv Richards]

In my book, Viv Richards truly  qualifies  for  the  accolade  of
"great"  because he proved himself over an extended period every-
where, against every type of bowling, in all conditions, and fre-
quently,  when the team was in trouble. He was so certain of him-
self that he never gave failure a thought. It is  a  hallmark  of
his  greatness that he would play shots that defied the textbook,
and yet he was just as capable of flawless orthodoxy  and   tight

With his belief in his own ability, Viv would strut around,  giv-
ing the impression of arrogance. But he did'nt have to brag about
how good he was. For him, actions spoke louder than words.

Playing together with him  for  the  West  Indies,  I  thankfully
didn't  have  to  bowl at him much. When I did, I knew I couldn't
devise any specific plan to get him out as I would with most oth-
er  batsmen.  I  would  just try to bowl as tight as possible and
hope for him to make a mistake.  He was a genius, capable of hit-
ting  the  same  ball  three different ways to the boundary. With
such a batsman, you just try not to let him embarrass you.

Richards used his body language as part of his method of  psycho-
logically  dominating  the bowler. After hammering a boundary, he
would saunter down the pitch and just tap it with his  bat  while
giving  the  bowler  an annoying smirk or fixing him with a stern
glare. Whenever I bowled against him, I would either  ignore  him
completely,  not  even looking at him, or else go the other route
and applaud any good shots. But he upset a lot of bowlers who got
uptight  at  his antics, none more so than Lennie Pascoe who came
into the Australian team during the Packer years. Lennie had  hot
Czech(*)  *** pumping through his veins and it seldom took very
long for him to lose his cool and start bouncing - and it  wasn't
very   long  before  fine leg  would  be  retrieving balls hit by
Richards from over the fence.

In his later years, Richards had problems with  his  health,  and
was  not as consistent as he was in his heyday, which I would put
as the years between 1976 and 1981. He still tried to  play   the
impossible shots that used to come so easily but his eyesight and
reflexes were just not the same and his big scores  became  fewer
and  fewer.  However, at his peak, as he was on this tour, he was

(* ed. note: Yugoslav really :-)