St. John’s Antigua- Former West Indies fast bowler, Michael Holding, has revered former captain, Sir Vivian Richards, as one of the most talented individuals to have played the game.
Holding, who is now a broadcaster and a member of Sky Sports, said the Antiguan was a determined cricketer, a fantastic batsman and a competitive individual, but admired most his love for country and the way he would always put his personal aspirations behind that of his country and his country’s people.
“You can’t buy talent and you cannot manufacture talent and Viv was fantastic where that was concerned. But apart from that, it wasn’t everyone that was as talented as Viv, would have been as great as Viv, because Viv was so determined to be a fantastic batsman. Viv was so competitive; Viv loved his country so much that he wanted to perform for his country and not just for Viv Richards,” he said.
“If Viv was for Viv Richards he would have made plenty more runs than he did. Viv would have perhaps beaten Sir Garfield Sobers’ record of 365 a long time ago if he was batting for Viv Richards. But people just need to have a look at Viv on those videos. Look at the way the man played the game. Look at what he was capable of doing,” Holding added.
Recounting his personal experiences with Richards, Holding, who was known as “Whispering Death” by umpires due to his quiet approach to the bowling crease, remembered that his only concern was never to be embarrassed when facing up to “The Master Blaster.”
“Everyone knows that when you are playing against a batsman as great as that it is not going to be easy and what you are hoping for is that you don’t get embarrassed when you are out there bowling. We both had our good fortunes and our successes against each other. I think Viv certainly came out with the upper hand where that was concerned but it was always a great challenge.”
Holding added, “I played against Viv for Jamaica. I played against Viv for Derbyshire, not on many occasions of course but on a few occasions, and it was always a great challenge. We enjoyed each other’s challenges.”
A week of activities in honour of Richards’ 60th birthday celebrations is currently ongoing here in Antigua. A number of past cricketers and administrators spoke during a lecture at the Dean William Lake Cultural Centre.
A banquet will be held on Thursday evening with football and cricket slated for Friday and Saturday.