Sir Vivian Richards is one of the greatest batsmen to have ever played the game. Many people who have watched him bat will tell you that he was ahead of his time, in terms of batting brilliance.
To give you a perspective, his strike rate was above 90 in ODIs and he played between 1974 and 1991. Many cricket experts have said that Richards would have been a great T20 player, had he played the format.
In a recent interaction, the former New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Ian Smith said that the former West Indian great would have been the most valuable player in the format if had he played the modern-day cricket. He pointed at the strike rate with which Viv Richards used to bat during that era. He also said that teams would’ve paid more money for him than they pay today for Pat Cummins and Ben Stokes combined.
“I believe Viv Richards would have made a go at cricket in any format in any decade. That’s why I mean you look at his strike rate which was superior to anyone else’s at that time that is a T20 strike rate without even having that game in his mind. He would have been an absolute legend in T20 cricket.
They would have paid more money than Pat Cummins, Ben Stokes and all other guys put together, to get Viv Richards in their line-up, because it would put more bums on the seats,” Smith said ICC’s video series ‘Inside Out’.
‘Viv would have been an absolute crowd-pleaser’: Ian Smith
Ben Stokes had gone for a record sum of INR 14.5 crore at the IPL auctions in 2017. He had become the most expensive foreign player at the IPL. However, his record was broken by Pat Cummins earlier this year. The Aussie pacer was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 15.5 crore.
Talking about Viv Richards, the cricketer-turned-commentator also said that the West Indian was imposing character. Indeed, Smith’s point of view would echo the words of many players from that generation.
“He would have been an absolute crowd-pleaser and television would have gone through the roof. I will sum it up by saying that whenever you sit down and pick all-time World XI, he is always in mind. I don’t think I have ever in that time I played or commentated cricket seen a more imposing batsman come to the crease.
There have been some really fine players who looked like they are very confident when they come to the crease, they own the situation. But no man has been more imposing to the point where I think opposition attacks and fieldsmen were intimidated by him,” Smith said.
Viv Richards, without a doubt, is a batsman who had skills of unmatched standards back in the day. He scored 8540 runs at an average of 50.23 in Tests and also scored 6721 runs in ODIs at an average of 47. He was also a part-time bowler. He picked 32 wickets in Tests and 118 in ODIs.
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