Viv Richards is looking forward to the two-match Test series between India and the West Indies starting at Antigua on Thursday. He is also excited about getting to see Virat Kohli in action.
Richards, who is a panelist on Extraaa Innings on Sony Pictures Sports Network for the series, shares his views with The Hindu in an email interview. Excerpts:
I would love to see the West Indies. Both the teams have the same kind of fireworks and the so called seam attack to exploit these conditions, and this is what I would love to see. We took on England with their firepower and we won and everyone says “Aah, but India has got the Bumrahs, the Shamis and the Kumars and all these other guys.” So, we should be prepared to take some knocks. We got to give some, take some. And that to me would create some sort of vehemence and it is going to be competitive.
Certainly I think that it is a great format. And to be fair, I think this is where the ODI and T20 were born from that particular format. I would not like to see Test match cricket to disappear. Why because, you speak of (Don) Bradman… I was fortunate in a big way to be around Sunil Gavaskar and all the great players, and that is why I think we have the T20. It has evolved and I believe we need to preserve this format.
In the earlier days, there were a lot of folks who would be sorted out if not equipped. Nowadays, I think what makes the game easier as the umpire makes a signal on you that’s one or two for the over (bouncers) and it is too predictable, in my opinion. Those days, it wasn’t so. The players of today do have an advantage, especially if you are a batsman.
I have a lot of respect for Virat. I see a lot of attitudes similar, we are both so passionate about our leadership, we are passionate about how our fieldsmen behave, because he is driven and I have always felt that is why he is the captain. This guy leads from the front and I enjoy that and appreciate that. I made a statement once, where I had seen him on the long-on boundary in a match, and it was an appeal for a leg before; he is a long way from the square.
He is hands on. I have sometimes been accused of being hard on my players and the other day I saw him doing the same; I thought to myself “man… yeah I have done it too”.