Sir Viv Richards: West Indies Batsman Who Delivered Two World Cups for His Nation

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Sir Viv Richards is one of the best cricketers from Antiguan and West Indies cricketers. He captained the West Indies and was part of the World Cup-winning team of 1979. Throughout his career, the batsman registered staggering numbers that have left people wondering how he compares to Indian cricketer Virat Kholi. In 1999, he was knighted in the late Queen’s New Year’s honors and later inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Here’s a look at Sir Viv Richards’ career.

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Sir Viv Richards’ Early Life

Characters of the Caribbean, Part 3: The Four Knights. Source: Instagram

Born Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, his brothers introduced him to the sport. They played for the Antigua amateur team. Viv played with his father and the former captain of the Antiguan national team.

After high school, he worked in a restaurant and joined its cricket team, St. John’s Cricket Club. He then moved to the Rising Sun Cricket Club. As a budding cricketer, he found himself in trouble after he was out for a golden duck

Riots erupted in the stadium and he went back out but achieved the same result. Upon reflection, Richards admits he shouldn’t have returned to the field.

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Professional Cricket Career

Sir Viv Richards on the cricket ground. Source: Instagram

He put all the riots behind him and proved himself to the doubters. In 1972, aged 19, Sir Viv Richards debuted for Antigua and by the time he was 22, he had played in competitions around the Caribbean Island. His abilities are shown during these events and even though they were defeated in some, he got the attention of the Vice Chairman of Somerset, Len Creed.

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Going to England

Len Creed invited Viv Richards to play for Lansdown C.C. and also worked as the groundsman to help him become financially independent

After his first game, Viv Richards joined the first team, worked with Perera and by the end of the season, had the highest batting average. This earned him a two-year contract on the side, and hit the ground running. 

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West Indies

Sir Vivian Richards playing in Kingston against India on this day in 1983. Source: Instagram

In 1974, Richards debuted for the West Indies Cricket team and, in 1975, played a pivotal role in the team’s World Cup victory. Five years later, the batsman hit a century to win another World Cup for the West Indies.  

In the years in between, the cricketer posted one of his best seasons ever. In 1976, he scored 1710 runs, an average of 90 per game and seven centuries in 11 tests.

The only thing remaining for Sir Viv Richards was to captain his side. He achieved this in 1984 and led the team until 1991. He remains to be the only captain of the side not to lose a test match. 

That said, he devoted a lot of time to international cricket and his performance at Somerset took a hit. After the team finished bottom of the league in 1985 and 1986, he was sacked. He joined Rishton CC in the Lancashire League and later Glamorgan County Cricket Club

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Post Retirement

After his cricket career, Sir Viv Richards worked as a BBC commentator. He shared his experience of playing for the West Indies in the documentary Fire in Babylon. He also wrote two books: Viv Richards and Hitting Across the Line

Sir Viv Richards scored over 8, 500 runs in 121 matches in test cricket and over 6, 700 runs in 671 games in the One Day Internationals (ODI). His contributions to the sport were significant in changing the landscape of the game. 

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