Save Test cricket
Sir Viv tells ICC protect the traditional game
Former West Indies captain and cricketing icon Sir Vivian Richards has called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to do more to protect the integrity of Test cricket.
Speaking to The Times of India following the rain-ruined fourth Test in Trinidad and Tobago, he urged cricket’s governing body to preserve the stature of Test cricket by curbing the tendency of younger players to play too much Twenty20 cricket. Though not naming specific West Indies players, Sir Vivian said there were some who were not giving the longest format of the game the respect it deserved.
“One of my main suggestions to the governing body is if you can put aside a period of time for individuals who want to play cricket at the highest level, as Tests are the backbone of cricket. You have to make sure your best players are available for Test cricket and the best players who come out of that then should be drafted into IPL. Too many young players are jumping the gun and not wanting to play Test matches because of the attraction of T20 cricket,” Richards said.
The recent Test series against India overlapped with the Caribbean Premier League in which several players including the likes of Andre Russell and Chris Gayle were involved but were unavailable for the West Indies for reasons ranging from ineligibility because of their absence from domestic four-day cricket, to stated fitness reasons.
Sir Vivian also had some advice for the ICC over concerns voiced on the need to regulate the sizes of bats. He suggested the ICC stipulate a minimum of 75 yards as a boundary’s distance. He stressed that smaller boundaries and not heavy bats were to blame for the game being tilted unfairly in favour of batsmen.
“I see nothing [wrong] with the bats. What I see are the boundaries. They are very small. Sometimes you are playing with 60-yard boundaries. When you are playing with such good modified bats, the boundaries should be a little bit more respectable. Seventy-five yards should be the least. On these small boundaries, if a guy mis-hooks, it can still go for a six even though that’s a position you want your batsman to be in where he plays a false shot. That is making the game look a little silly,” Richards suggested.
The cricketing legend was full of praise for Indian captain Virat Kohli and his team, though he noted the visitors did not play the best possible West Indies team. Richards said bright things were in store for the Indian cricket team and believed Kohli was the right man to lead India as the team continued its recent fine run of form.
“They (India) have won the series handsomely and it opens the door even though you may not have played the best West Indian team. But they did what they had to do, especially [Ravichandran] Ashwin, coming at six which was new for him and doing so well. I don’t know how he is going to handle it in the future but he is on the right track with bat and ball,” Richards said.
He added: “The Indian team has done its job here and that’s all you could have done. To me, they played very well and that should create confidence. And it’s nice to have a captain as positive as Virat. His body language says it, the way he is in the field. It should give them the confidence to compete at a much better and higher level, especially Down Under.
“I like the way he (Kohli) approaches the innings. He doesn’t have any fears. One of the things I was most impressed with was in Australia when he scored those four hundreds with the abuse and a lot of things coming his way, he stood his ground. That to me was very special.
“I like the way he gives it back and this is what competition is all about at the end of the day, so long as no one is hurt and you feel comfortable in the fact that you had competed hard and a few words were said and it’s over. If you are in an aggressive country of fast bowlers and aggressive talk, some people hide. Virat came to the surface and performed. That to me is what champions are all about, the real deal,” Sir Viv added.