Legendary former West Indies batsman Sir Viv Richards has named three West Indians in his top 10 One-day International batsmen of all time.
Writing in his ICC World Cup column yesterday, Richards named Brian Lara, Chris Gayle and his former captain Clive Lloyd as three men whom he believes should be in the best ever top 10 ODI batsmen.
India’s Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli, as well as Australians Ricky Ponting, Mathew Hayden and Mike Hussey as well as South Africa’s AB de Villiers, make up Richard’s best ever 10.
“The first name that comes to mind is Sachin Tendulkar. In a single word, I would describe him as a legend. The player he was until very recently, if ever there is a team picked without including him, it would be a great shame. He has always been one of my favourite batsmen and I would pay money to watch him bat. He wasn’t the biggest in size amongst other cricketers of the world, but all good things come in small packages. And he was a fantastic batsman.”
Richards said he rated Lara the same as Sachin. “I would pay to watch him bat too, and then pay again and again, and keep paying, however, many times it needs to be done. There is no other batsman in world cricket I can remember who picked gaps more easily than Lara and he did that at a rapid rate, almost as soon as he arrived at the crease. It is difficult to leave him out of any batting side.”
In selecting Gayle, Richards described him as a bowlers’ nightmare. “On his day, he can be very destructive. He can be a match-winner in any environment and in any match conditions. If he is on song, then the opposition can lose the match in the blink of an eye, that’s how destructive he can be.”
Richards also found space for Lloyd, his former captain and the man who led West Indies to victory in the first two World Cups in 1989 and 1993. “Today’s generation of cricket fans may not have seen him bat, but I do remember watching him play. To get a century in the final of an ICC Cricket World Cup is a great achievement. He may not have as many ODI centuries as others but scoring in a World Cup final counts a lot more. Not many batsmen have done that, not to mention he did it while also leading the side.”
He noted that Ponting also got a century in a World Cup final, but suggested that it was not the only reason to pick him. “He was able to play all the shots in the book but the more remarkable thing about Ponting was that he was a wonderful worker of the ball. When he was not hitting fours or sixes, he could rotate the strike easily. He could pick singles and doubles at will, and that is remarkable for a batsman especially coming in at number three. It becomes very difficult to contain such batsmen.”
He said Hayden at the top of the order was a fearsome prospect who set things up for the middle-order with his ferocious and powerful hitting.
Richards’ Top 10
Sachin Tendulklar, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli (India), Brian Lara, Chris Gayle, Clive Lloyd (West Indies), Ricky Ponting, Mathew Hayden , Mike Hussey (Australia), AB de Villiers (South Africa).