The fans of West Indies cricket have seen everything – from being the most dominant and feared force in the International arena to becoming the laughing stock of the cricketing world.
However, for a nation which has given many a cricketing great, one name truly stands out – Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards. Regarded by many as the greatest batsman to have ever wielded the willow, Sir Viv celebrates his 66th birthday today. On his birthday, we bring you five greatest moments of his career.
1. 1710 Test runs in 1976
1976 turned out to be the dream year for young Richards as he scored 1910 runs in only 11 Test matches at an astonishing average of 90. He scored six centuries in the process, including a swashbuckling 281 against England at The Oval in the last match of the series. His record for the highest aggregate of test runs stood for 30 years before it was eventually broken by Mohammed Yousuf in 2006.
2. 189 against England in 1984
On a pitch offering great assistance to off-spinner Miller, West Indies were under immense pressure after being reduced to 102 for seven in the 26th over. However, best knocks are played in the most difficult times and Richards did just that. He single-handedly took the team total to 272, scoring 189 off 170 balls with 21 fours and five gigantic sixes. The enormous stature of the innings can be understood from two facts – only two Caribbean batsmen got into double-digits apart from him and India had won the 1983 World Cup chasing a score lower than his individual score.
3. 138 not out in 1979 World Cup Final against England
Big knocks at big stages are always memorable and this one came on the biggest stage – the World Cup Final. Richards scored an unbelievable 138 not out of 157 deliveries with 11 fours and three sixes. The match turned the tide completely in West Indies' favour and all England could manage was 194, just 56 more than what Richards scored alone!
4. Fastest test century off 56 balls against England, 1986
In an era when the average scoring rate stood at 3-4 runs per over, the most destructive batsman in world cricket struck a test century in just 56 balls, the fastest in the history of the game at that time. West Indies had taken a healthy lead in the first innings and needed to score quickly in order to make England bat again. Even a die-hard West Indies fan could not envision a cracker of an innings from the Master which featured seven fours and as many sixes.
5. 281 against England at The Oval, 1976
This innings showed the patience and determination of the big man. He did not hit a single six in his 281 run innings, striking as many as 33 fours but nothing in the air. He batted for 472 minutes to grind it out against the English attack. England were so demoralized by his batting effort that they lost the match and West Indies bagged the series 3-0. This is his highest test score.
— zainab abbas (@ZAbbasOfficial) March 7, 2017
Once again, we take this opportunity to wish a very happy birthday to the man who has given us some memorable moments down the years.