Legendary West Indies batsman Viv Richards is confident Nicholas Pooran was the right choice for captain of the One Day  International squad and has backed the player to do well in the position.

Pooran was named as the replacement for all-rounder Kieron Pollard last week, following the latter’s surprise decision to retire from international cricket a few weeks ago.  The decision to appoint the 25-year-old by the Cricket West Indies (CWI) panel of selectors hardly came as a surprise as the players was already being groomed for the position.

Pooran, who had served as Pollard’s vice-captain over the last year, took charge of the team for a series against India earlier this year.  For Richards who himself captained the team between 1980 and 1991, the choice was an obvious one.

“There wasn’t any other choice in my opinion. I think the young man is pretty studious about what he wants to get done. He takes his cricket pretty studiously and I am a fan of Nicholas Pooran,” Richards told the Antigua Observer.

The Master Blaster believes the player has come a long way since making his debut for the team in 2016 and has now blossomed into the role.

“Early in his career I guess there was some immaturity … but having been through the mill and where he’s at now, I think he is the perfect choice as captain.”

On the back of the sudden passing of Australian cricket great Shane Warne on Friday, tributes have begun to pour in from many members of the global cricket fraternity.

West Indies batting legend Brian Lara had many battles with Warne on the pitch during their careers. He was rendered speechless by the news.

“Heartbroken and speechless at the moment. I literally don’t know how to sum up this situation. My friend is gone!!!,” Lara said on Instagram.

“We have lost one of the greatest sportsmen of all time!! My condolences go out to his family. RIP Warnie!! You will be missed,” he added.

Lara played against Australia in 31 test matches from 1992-2005 and made 2856 runs at an average of 51.00 with nine centuries and 11 fifties.

Another all-time great, Sachin Tendulkar, also reacted with shock to news of Warne’s death on Instagram.

“Shocked, stunned and miserable…Will miss you, Warnie. There was never a dull moment with you around, on or off the field. Will always treasure our on-field duels and off-field banter. You always had a special place for India and Indians had a special place for you. Gone too young!”

Tendulkar also had a long history of battles with Warne, playing against Australia in 39 tests from 1991-2013, amassing 3630 runs at an average of 55.00 with 11 centuries and 16 fifties.

West Indian great Sir Viv Richards never played against Warne but was a part of the Melbourne Stars Australian Big Bash League franchise at one point with him.

“Unbelievable. I am shocked to the core. This can’t be true. There are no words to describe how I feel right now. A huge loss for cricket,” Richards said on Twitter.

Legendary English all-rounder Ian Botham mourned the loss of the Australian spinner.

“I’ve lost a great friend on and off the playing field. RIP Warnster,” he said on Twitter.

Warne leaves behind an untouchable legacy in the sport, finishing his career in 2007 with 708 wickets in 145 Tests and 293 wickets in 194 ODIs.

 

 

Legendary West Indies batsman, Viv Richards, has once again decried what he believes to be the role of poorly prepared playing surfaces in the underdevelopment of both the region’s batsman and bowlers.

The regional team is in the grips of a particularly bad spell, after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Ireland in the most recent One Day International series.  The series was the first the Irish have won again them and sent shockwaves around the region.

The team’s batsmen were in particularly woeful form with only Sharmarh Brooks, Shai Hope, and Odean Smith managing to average over 30.  Albeit on a pitch that held moisture early on, and losing the toss three times, the West Indies only managed to make over 250 runs in the first match, well short of the total typically required for a good innings in modern ODI cricket.

With many of the batsmen continuing to look out of sorts, despite often putting in strong spells in regional cricket, Richards believes substandard pitches are partially to blame for the situation.

“I don’t think there is enough preparation being put into wickets, and wickets play a huge part because sometimes you get some individuals who would be selected because of some good performances on some dodgy tracks,” Richards told Antigua’s Good Morning Jojo Radio program.

“So, when you get to the bigger picture or they take a step up, then you find individuals are found wanting because these wickets are rather inferior on either sides of the coin, whether it’s batting or bowling. We need to pay a little more attention to having proper wickets that can be quite competitive for bat and ball,” he added.

West Indies legend, Viv Richards, has called for there to be more accountability across the board when it comes to the affairs of the regional team, including the performances of coaches.

The West Indies men’s team, which is coached by former player Phil Simmons, has been plagued by poor performances in recent months.  At the T20 World Cup the team, who entered the tournament as defending champions, were less than inspiring and crashed out after finishing 5th in Group 1 after winning just one match and losing four.

The performance was followed by lopsided defeats in Sri Lanka for the Test team and Pakistan.  The Women’s team, who appointed former fast bowler Courtney Walsh two years ago after a string of poor results, have in the meantime won two of their last three series.

  “We’ve got to start calling on the coaches a bit more in my opinion for performances, and to have a level at some point regarding performances, where you’d say that last year we were here at that level and where we want to be next year, so I am looking for stuff like that sort of improvement,” Richards recently told the Good Morning Jojo radio program.

 “I think I am looking for that sort of improvement, which I am not seeing at the moment,” he said.

At the same time, the former player, known as the Master Blaster in his prime, also believes that there was also the need for more transparency and equality as it relates to players' selection based on fitness standards.

“There are times we play to people’s affairs and not overall in terms of the team in itself because no one or two or three individuals make up a team in itself. It’s about the solidness, and everyone being on board, and just how you dish out the treatment, I think it needs to be a little fairer in my opinion. It gives everyone an opportunity and where the fitness is concerned, that seems to be lacking for years now,” he said.

As the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup draws ever closer, some observers are still in disbelief at the squad Cricket West Indies selectors have chosen to defend the title the West Indies won in 2016.

Among them is Sir Vivian Richards, a man considered by many to be the greatest batsman of all time and one of the most destructive.

Richards, who played on the West Indies teams that won the Prudential World Cup in 1975 and 1979, said he still cannot believe that former West Indies captain Jason Holder, was not among the 15-man squad named for the world cup.

Holder, who played well in the recent CPL and took 16 wickets for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL this season, was only named among the four reserve players who will travel with the team to the United Arab Emirates where the West Indies will begin the defence of their title on October 23.

The decision by the selectors doesn’t sit well with the Master Blaster.

“I felt maybe it could have been a misprint and then hearing the news as well you think you were not hearing right at that particular time,” Sir Vivian told the Antigua Observer.

“We may have our issues with Jason when he was in charge as captain of the team, but we can never doubt the individual’s ability and his talent and I just felt sad that someone with such ability couldn’t make a West Indies T20, so that suggests to me that we must be seriously blessed with talented individuals the calibre of Jason Holder.”

Despite his misgivings, Richards urged fans to get behind the team as it goes for a third world title having won the tournament in 2012 and 2016.

West Indies open their defence against England in Dubai.

 

West Indies legend, Viv Richards, has called on talented young batsman Shimron Hetmyer to take a more mature approach to cricket, in order to realise and maximise his full potential.

In the same breath, the iconic former batsman fondly referred to as the ‘Master Blaster,’ believes any failure by the player to do so would be a great loss not just to the West Indies, but the sport as a whole.

The 24-year-old Guyanese-born batsman has been in the spotlight recently, after failing to secure an international retainer contract from Cricket West Indies (CWI).  Long-touted as one of the region’s premier talents, Hetmyer has had a disappointing period, missing out on several appearances for the West Indies and twice failing a fitness test.

“You’ve got to put in the work [because] if you take half measure, then you are going to get half measure results for sure. Shortcuts in this particular profession are of no substance and I am not sure if what I am saying here now will get to him at some point, but the individual is a talented individual and there are times when I see him on the field and he is pretty playful like he is still a kid and he actually has to be a little more mature at this stage now,” Richards told the Antigua Observer.

 “The guy has got too much talent and I think that if this talent goes to waste, it would be a huge loss, not just maybe to himself but to world cricket on a whole,” he added.

Hetmyer, who has played all three formats for the West Indies, last appeared for the team in a T20I series against New Zealand last year.  He has, however, not played One Day International Cricket since January of last year and has not played a Test match since November of 2019.

“If he really wants to make this sport his profession and to get the maximum result that everyone feels he has in him in terms of the talent then he has got to really start looking at himself in the mirror and start to think. I think he is [24 years old] now, so he has got to be serious. When you hear some of the stuff like they fail a fitness test and all that sort of stuff then that is just totally unprofessional.”

Legendary West Indies batsman, Viv Richards, was hesitant to compare the talent of players currently available to the West Indies team, with those in his heyday, as he believes eras are simply too different.

Richards represented the West Indies for close to two decades, following his debut in 1974.  For the majority of his career, the Windies were known as the world’s best cricket team, securing two World Cups during that time.

The Master Blaster, as he is otherwise known, played alongside some of the game’s greatest players, the likes of Clive Lloyd, Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, and bowlers Malcolm Marshal, Joel Garner, Collin Croft, and Michael Holding, to name a few, listed among his teammates.  Recently, the team has fallen far from that type of dominance.

For some, the quality comparison between the talent that was available then regionally, and the current crop, is an open and shut case with overwhelming favourability for the former.  For Richards, however, it isn’t that simple.

“It’s always tough for you to make comparisons of what took place yesterday to what’s happening today because I think the game would have moved on big time as well,” Richards told the Antigua Observer.

“There are a lot of things you would have had yesterday that (are) missing today and a lot of things you have today were missing yesterday, so, it’s a tough task for any individual to make comparisons,” he added.

One thing he insists that players can do from any era is to get the job done, regardless of the challenges.

 “The best way I would look at that is the period of time we were asked to work because remember we are not all the same age at this particular time. So, considering the times in which we all played and what was put in front of us at that particular time, we got the job done and you may ask that of the individuals today to do the very same. I don’t think I can give a definite answer to which period was better, and whoever was making whatever comparison; but all these individuals, at the time they came, they did good,” he said.

 

 

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