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Legend at 60, Sir Viv Richards on life and cricket

Excerpts from an interview:

Are you one who is afraid of ageing?

Not at all. I have no fears of this particular stuff because I have always trained my mind to be as fresh as the moment that I am living in. I am thankful to God and his guidance. There are too many people who think about of how they did things yesterday and the changes we see today. Sometimes, we get a bit frustrated and stressed out about changes. I stay as fresh as I can and basically roll with the tide. I am quite happy to be part of yesterday and today.

You now join a lot of your cricketing friends in Club 60…

I am delighted to join them; no problem with that. To average over 60 in any form of the game is a good feeling (laughs).

How are you going to celebrate your 60th birthday?

Nothing too special. I have a few friends over from England, Australia and New Zealand. Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee, Garfield Sobers and Everton Weekes will be part of a golf tournament on Wednesday which will raise money for Breast Friends, a breast cancer organisation. I will spend the day to help raise some funds.

Has IVA Richards mellowed down in other spheres of life?

Yes. There have to be times to be laid back and a little relaxed. A times, you’ve got to be little circumspect. As the years go by, you mellow down.

You last played international cricket in 1991. Do you miss the game?

No. I am just happy and excited to see the game in different formats. I love to see the Indian Premier League.

I would have seen the Bangladesh Cricket League, the Big Bash in Australia and the Twenty20 here in the Caribbean. I guess, it’s the same game of cricket, but I am excited to see the different changes, the enthusiasm of fans and the performances of the players themselves. The game has become so sellable and I am delighted with that.

You seem happy with the general health of the game. But, what do you dislike of modern-day cricket?

I would like to see the boundaries being extended a bit. With the kind of bats they have nowadays, even an inside edge goes a long way. The boundaries do need to be pushed back a few yards. It will help bowlers too. People come to see guys hit sixes over and over again and when the boundaries are a bit small, it appears a bit far-fetched; looks pre-planned.

Who in current-day cricket bats like you?

There are so many. Since I am closer to him in the Caribbean, Chris Gayle is as close as anything else. I look at Sehwag, who is exciting as anything you can see. There are the Gambhirs, Kohlis, so many guys doing it. I guess the Twenty20 game has helped in a big way to highlight some of these big-hitters like Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo.

Finally, what is it that you love about India?

I have always been passionate about that part of the world. There are a lot of cricketers in commentary positions, who, during a period of time didn’t want to tour India. They thought India was maybe the worst place on earth to tour. Now India has become a lucrative place to be in. I always felt touring India was one of the greatest experiences ever. I have never ever been scared to have a few spices in my tummy. The food has always been good and you can’t get anything better. I still love my lady finger (bhindi) dishes!


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