McCullum smashed a whirlwind 54-ball hundred on the first day of the second Test against Australia in Christchurch, needing two balls fewer than Richards and Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq to reach the three-figure landmark.
West Indian legend Richards set the record against England on his home ground Antigua in 1986 while Misbah equalled the feat against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014.
Richards, who is in Dubai as mentor for Pakistan Super League franchise Quetta, congratulated McCullum.
“Let me take this opportunity to congratulate McCullum,” Richards told media.
“I have been a fan of yours for many years, so well done on your achievement.
“If there was going to be an individual who you would have liked to surpass whatever you have achieved in life, certainly it would have been you. You are a great ambassador and make the game beautiful.”
McCullum, playing his 101st and final Test, hit Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood for a boundary to reach the three-figure mark.
He was finally dismissed for 145 in New Zealand’s total of 370. Australia were 57-1 at close on day one.
Reflecting on his 1986 masterclass, Richards said his team needed quick runs to enforce a win and that made his task easier.
“I guess it was against England in my hometown. You never really set yourself out to do such a thing but the situation at that particular time did demand that,” recalled Richards.
“To have done that before your home crowd is a marvellous achievement and it’s something that I think you would remember for quite some time,” said Richards, leading the West Indies in that match, like McCullum and Misbah.
Richards said he always backed himself for that record due to his aggressive batting.
“Whenever you are going well, you back yourself and I had always believed I could do that. When you are captain, you give yourself the licence to throw your bat and be as aggressive as you can be.
“That’s what happened in the end, it’s always about aggression and I wanted to get quick runs and when you do that it’s a marvellous achievement.”
Richards also praised veteran Pakistan batsman Misbah.
“That was a marvellous achievement from Misbah,” said Richards of Pakistan’s Test captain. “Now we are tied second so you can never ever forget what Brendon has achieved.
“I have always said that he has an aggressive style and it beautifies the game we all love,” said Richards, who is in negotiations with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to take over as batting consultant of their national team.