Vivian Richards loves large-hearted players like him. He will not mind watching a Sachin Tendulkar in action for another decade and will always have a Virender Sehwag in his team.
Known as ‘King Viv’ for his destructive batting, the West Indian legend, a self-confessed admirer of Tendulkar and Sehwag, on Thursday spoke about the two all-time great Indian batsmen.
Richards said a player of the class of Tendulkar, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Wednesday, should continue to entertain people.
“It is Sachin’s choice. He is still not out of place (in Twenty20). He is still very much a class act in my opinion. We should try and appreciate him as long as possible. Let us appreciate him as long as possible. He is a modern day hero in a big way. If he wants to go to 50, I would still let him go…For what he has achieved, it should be his call and nobody else’s,” said Richards during an interaction with newspersons here.
On Sehwag, he said: “There is a simple thinking along the line that when everyone expects him to smash the ball hard why not take singles. Fielders are going to be threatened more often than not (because of the change in approach). They will think when this player is going to go after them. I have a simple suggestion, when you are driving and you reach a roundabout where the traffic light is red then you must stop. And when it is green you have the full opportunity to step on the pedal.”
Asked in which position he would have liked to bat if he had played T20 cricket, Richards said, “The best players should get most number of overs. I would have opened, but would not have taken the strike for sure.”
In T20 cricket, the legend said he would back spinners who people thought had no role in the shortest version of the game. “Someone like Narine is very special. When you see the spin, the guile, how clever they are. You must have some nerve to be a spinner.”
Richards was pleased with present day batsmen, who had been playing improvised shots and making cricket more entertaining. “Batsmanship is all about hitting in the gaps. I am privileged to be alive to see the modern day players. Cricket is in wonderful hands.”
He had a tip for cricketers, who more often wear aggression on their sleeves. “Aggression for me is standing at the crease. When a guy is swearing, you stand your ground, looking the guy in his eyes at the end of the day.”