KARACHI: Former West Indian captain and batting legend Vivian Richards Tuesday was named All Time Greatest One-day International cricket in history.
Sir Viv Richards was named the greatest cricketer by a jury of 50 eminent players, commentators and writers assembled by the Cricket Monthly.
An astonishing 29 of 50 jurors picked Richards as their first choice, giving him a landslide victory over four other ODI legends: Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Akram, Adam Gilchrist and MS Dhoni.
The contest for second place was a close affair between Tendulkar and Akram. Tendulkar, owner of 18,426 runs and 49 centuries, eventually prevailed by a hair’s breadth over Akram, the most exceptional left-arm bowler the game has seen.
Rounding off the top five were Gilchrist at No 4 and Dhoni at No.
5. In all, 21 cricketers received at least one vote from the jury: six Australians, five Indians, four Pakistanis, two West Indians, two South Africans, a Sri Lankan and an Englishman. There was no dispute over the greatest, though. Through the late 1970s and ’80s Richards was way ahead of his contemporaries. He thrived in different conditions, against a variety of attacks, and raised the bar in the key matches.
In an era before big bats, small boundaries and fielding restrictions, Richards tormented bowlers with his power and audacity.
“He batted at No. 3 or 4, maintained a strike rate of 90 and an average of 47 and did it in his sleep over 15 exhausting years of dominance,” writes former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe in his tribute to Richards in the March issue of the Cricket Monthly.
“Arguably-categorically for me-his 189 not out in Manchester in 1984 is the greatest one-day innings of them all.
” Few walked to the crease oozing as much swagger as Richards, who never wore a helmet even when facing the fastest bowlers.
“I felt strong about my presence, you know,” said Richards in an interview to the Cricket Monthly.
“Sometimes presence sends a message, ‘Hey, I am ready.’ It’s just the duel between you and the bowler.”