Over-50s World Cup Ambassador - Barry Richards

Barry Richards
Barry Richards

The Over-50s World Cup in South Africa have announced five former greats of the game who will serve as the tournament’s ambassadors.

Mike Proctor, Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Omar Henry and Peter Kirsten will not be playing, but will be in attendance at the various functions, watching games and following the progress of all the teams closely.

A shoe-in for an all-time South African XI - and also in many people’s all-time World XIs - Richards was, like Mike Procter and so many others, a victim of South Africa’s isolation during the 1960s and ‘70s.

His four Test matches, all against Australia in 1970, only gave the world a glimpse of his ability as he scored 508 runs at 72.57.

In a long first-class career, however, he showed his skills to fans in Hampshire, Gloucestershire, South Australia, Transvaal and, of course, in the World Series Cricket of the late 1970s.

Over 19 years he scored over 28 000 first-class runs at nearly 55, with 80 centuries, including a mammoth 356. He once scored 325 runs in a day for South Australia against an attack including Dennis Lillee and Graham McKenzie.

He scored a century before lunch no fewer than nine times, and found batting so easy that he would occasionally turn his bat sideways and played an over using just the leading edge of his bat (in an era when the side of a bat was still quite small).

In recent years, Richards has been a commentator and keen observer of the game.

By Jim Morrison