From modifications in its legal guidelines to adopting completely new codecs, the recreation has all the time been in a fixed state of flux. Whereas crickets lawmakers and custodians have performed their half in evolving the sport with time, there have additionally been a number of gamers alongside the approach who’ve created their own affect.
These gamers have helped change the method by which the recreation is approached and their legacy is completely etched in stone. Whether or not or not it’s introducing a utterly new shot with the bat or bringing a basic shift in the recreation, these gamers are crickets greatest innovators.
As we glance again on some of these visionaries of the recreation, one identify that can not be missed is that of Sir Viv Richards.
The restricted-overs recreation has undergone fast evolution over the previous decade or two and it’s no secret that run-scoring has turn into considerably simpler. Flatter batting circumstances, powerplay restrictions and two new-balls have all contributed in the direction of making ODI cricket extra excessive scoring than earlier than.
With totals of over 300 now turning into the norm, the 50-over cricket of as we speak has undergone a sea of change to that seen in the 1970s and 1980s. That was an period the place 60-over innings have been nonetheless prevalent, and a batting strike-fee over 65 was thought of to be a superb one. Viv Richards, nevertheless, was in a league of his own with the West Indies batting nice dominating bowling assaults in a style by no means seen earlier than his time.
The truth that his ODI batting strike-fee ofmore than90 can be thought of phenomenal even in the fashionable period tells you all you must find out about the devastating affect the Antiguan created each time he arrived at the crease.
Mixing the Caribbean swagger with equal components of conceitedness, Richards induced a terror in bowlers they’d by no means beforehand skilled. It was quick bowlers who often intimidated batsmen with their aggression and menacing stare downs after a hostile supply.
Not with Richards, although, with the Antiguan reversing the roles with out the overt use of any aggression.
The picture of Richards sauntering in to bat from the pavilion with the customary chewing gum in his mouth was sufficient to demoralise any bowler. With a manner virtually bordering on nonchalance, a helmet-much less Richards carried an air of insouciance that served as an ominous prelude for what was to return subsequent.
As soon as the customary guard had been taken, the bat would lastly come down and unleash a wave of destruction that will flip the complexion of the innings inside a matter of minutes.
Practically 7,000 ODI runs with the assist of 11 tons and 45 fifties resulted from Richards bat in simply 187 innings, and numbers barely do any justice to the commanding persona he introduced out on a cricket pitch.
Hitting across the line
Richards autobiography is aptly titled Hitting across the Line, for that’s precisely what he pioneered in earlier than he retired. For traditionalists and orthodox cricket coaches, Richards batting fashion would virtually be seen with contempt for the method by which it went towards all the pieces textbook.
A towering determine with highly effective shoulders, the proper-hander was a grasp of the standard, in addition to the unconventional. Whereas hitting across the line was thought of to be virtually taboo, Richards completely mastered that troublesome artwork.
For this particular trait, the legendary batsman credit his upbringing on the unprepared pitches of Antigua which might lend deliveries with an unpredictable bounce. Planting his entrance-foot exterior the off-stump, Richards might manoeuvre ball to all components of the floor with an array of diverse strokes.
Whereas he might play these thunderous cowl drives and rasping lower pictures, Richards mastery lay in his skill to pull deliveries pitched exterior off to over mid-wicket or mid-on.
Whether or not or not it’s by means of the flick of a wrist or the use of a forceful pull or hook shot, the Windies man might pierce any discipline set on the on-aspect. It was this uncommon skill to hit across the line that separated Richards from the different contemporaries of his period.
The truth that he might play a pull shot whereas batting on the entrance-foot solely added to his genius on the on-aspect.
In relation to selecting the all-time ODI XI, Richards is the first identify that springs to the minds of most with the aura of his easy genius transcending all eras. His fearless and domineering fashion would arguably be much more efficient in the ongoing period the place batting information proceed to fall by the wayside.
The nice man was an modern entertainer in the purest phrases and much forward of his time. Therefore, it’s a disgrace that the T20 format wasintroducedlong after he had retired from cricket.
In the present period, taking part in across the line has turn into rather more widespread with the likes of Virat Kohli and Joe Root being one of the foremost exponents of the artwork.
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