BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun 21, CMC – West Indies cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards on Sunday recalled the epic day 40 years ago when he was a member of the great West Indies team which won the first ever Cricket World Cup staged in England.
The Caribbean side, led by now chairman of selectors, Clive Lloyd, trounced Australia by 17 runs in the final at Lords, held on June 21, 1975.
Sir Viv played a key role in the match with three run outs while Lloyd hit a sparking century to win the Man of the Match award. He later lifted the cup in front of adoring fans, in a historic moment for the Caribbean.
“Hearing the guys speak about it today I said ‘wow Viv … you’ve come a long way … 40 years ago, already. I’m 63 now and to be here alive to celebrate that particular precious moment in West Indies history fills me with great joy,” Sir Viv said.
“To be on that team with the magnificent players we had is something special and truly significant in my life and my cricketing career.
“I can remember that day like it was yesterday. That was one of the greatest days of my cricket life. It was so great to play so hard and so well and win the World Cup for the West Indies. That was a great team with some really great men in the side and we were all so delighted to win that day.”
Sir Viv was speaking as the special guest player at the West Indies Retired Players Foundation’s inaugural Golf Day at the Sandy Lane Country Club, overlooking Barbados’ scenic west coast.
The event was jointly hosted by the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players Association and also supported by the Caribbean Premier League and sponsors, Digicel.
Sir Viv said even though he failed with the bat in the historic final, he recalled the three runs outs – two of which accounted for the dangerous Chappell brothers Ian and Greg – as being crucial to the outcome as Australia were dismissed for 274 in pursuit of 291.
“Back then I was the kind of player who was known for my batting but I didn’t really feature with the bat that well. But I knew I had to do something special in the field and those three run outs helped us to get over the line,” Sir Viv recalled.
“I wanted to do something for the team in the field. I just happened to knock down a few stumps. And I was happy to play a part in helping us to accomplish what was an historic and magnificent victory for West Indies.”
He added: “The nicest thing about it was the celebration to see the hundreds, even thousands of West Indian people enjoying the moment and relishing the opportunity to join us. Those are the things you remember.”
West Indies also went on to win the next Cricket World Cup in 1979.
Sir Viv was one of several former stars playing in Sunday’s golfing extravaganza with former West Indies players Desmond Haynes, Jeff Dujon, Sir Richie Richardson, Phil Simmons, and Ian Bishop, also hitting the greens.
The list of players also included modern day stars Mahela Jayawardena of Sri Lanka and Daniel Vettori of New Zealand, as well as officials of the International Cricket Council and several regional sporting and public figures.
Speaking on the golf event, Sir Viv noted: “This is a magnificent initiative and I am really happy to be here in Barbados to share in this occasion and to support the work of the West Indies Retired Players Foundation.
“It is important that we look after each other and lend a helping hand to our brotherman in any way we can. This golf event, at such a prestigious facility such as Sandy Lane, signals the start of a good thing as we make sure the players who represented the West Indies can be looked after in a positive way.”