Will love to be challenged by Lyon: Viv Richards (IANS Interview)

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Kolkata, Dec 21 (IANS) Having dominated the best of bowlers during his time, cricket legend Vivian Richards said on Friday he would enjoy a challenge against Australian offie Nathan Lyon the most among the modern day exponents of the cherry, while also keeping India’s chinaman Kuldeep Yadav in that list.

“I would like to face Nathan Lyon. I used to enjoy off spinners. I would love a challenge against him,” Richards told IANS in an interview here.

The 66-year-old batting genius, known for his fearless brand of cricket and swagger, is in the city as brand ambassador of American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine, which is part of Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG).

“Then there is (Graeme) Swann too. Also, there is a guy who bowls the chinaman and googly for India (Kuldeep Yadav). I think he will be there too,” Richards said.

Lyon played a big role in Australia’s 146-run win over India in the second Test of the ongoing series by returning match figures of 8/106.

With 16 scalps against his name, the 31-year old is currently the highest wicket-taker in the four-Test series which is now level at 1-1.

Having showed the red rag to the quickest of pacemen, Jeff Thomson, Imran Khan, Dennis Lillee and Bob Willis, to name a few, Richards reasoned that batsmen these days lack the technique to cope with bowlers who are “above average” in Test cricket due to the spurt of T20 tournaments.

“Some guys (today) just bowl four overs due to so much T20 cricket played. That is why when you have a bowler who has a little bit of pace in Test match cricket, batsmen find it hard to cope with. I even see today guys not playing the bouncers too well because of the fact that they haven’t had that on a regular basis in the modern day,” he said.

“That to me is because of T20 cricket that would have been a huge distraction. The guys wanting to bowl four overs is much easier on the body. I just believe at the end of the day, it killed the competitive nature. You look at test matches and see sometimes guys getting hit now,” he added.

“It’s some indication that sometimes the technique ain’t that fully equipped to deal with when you get someone who is above average (laughs).”

Asked if the likes of Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith were having it easy as compared to when he played the game, Richards said: “I would not say that. These guys are good enough in their own right.”

“At the end of the day, some of the shots played today are good. As a batsman who believes ‘he who dares..wins’ I am seeing a lot of that today. I am happy with what I am seeing.”

Having played the game at a time the West Indies were at their pinnacle, Richards remained hopeful that his team would stake a claim for the World Cup next year as there is enormous talent in limited over cricket.

“There is enormous amount of talent. I just hope we find whatever necessary to win it. I am talking from my heart. I haven’t seen the substance especially the way in which they qualified in Zimbabwe. But you never know. Let’s hope there is some massive improvement,” he said.

On the AUA, Richards said: “It’s an educational and medical programme. The island which I was born in and presently still live, Antigua, they have provided great facilities.”

“That’s why we are here to spread the gospel about this magnificent university where you can fulfill ypur educational programmes plus your medical problems as well.”

(Debayan Mukherjee can be contacted at [email protected])



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