Richards on the toughest bowlers he’s faced
Barry Richards may not have played all the Test cricket he would have liked, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t get to test his unique set of skills against the best bowlers around at the time.
The sporting boycott placed on South Africa because of the Apartheid policy of the time meant that Richards, Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1969 and a member of Sir Donald Bradman’s Greatest XI of the 20th Century, only played four Test matches, all against Australia.
Still, that was enough time to show the world a glimpse of what could have been, scoring 508 runs at an average of 72.57 as they hammered Bill Lawry’s tourists 4-0.
The lack of Test opportunities meant Richards made merry against many a provincial or country attack, scoring almost 37 000 First-Class runs during his professional career with an eye-watering 96 hundreds and 202 half-centuries for the likes of Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Natal, South Australia, Transvaal and in World Series Cricket.
So, if any, which bowlers were toughest to face for Richards, who was a regular around the fields of Cape Town during the last month’s Evergreen Lifestyle-sponsored Over-50s Cricket World Cup?
“Given the conditions, I think [Derek] Underwood in England on uncovered wickets was obviously a huge challenge,” the 77-year-old says. “If it was seaming in England there were a number of bowlers in the County circuit that were very hard to cope with.
“And if you got hard and fast and bouncy, just select anyone – Michael Holding, Dennis Lillee, Joel Garner, Jeff Thomson … you choose one of those. When they let the ball go from 22 yards away you have 0.4 of a second to react, so you don’t want to be changing your mind too often!"
About Evergreen Lifestyle
The 2023 Over-50s Cricket World Cup will once again be sponsored by Evergreen Lifestyle, South Africa’s premium retirement brand with seven operating villages in the Western Cape and Gauteng, and a further six in the pipeline. The business began with a vision to change the retirement landscape in South Africa, offering a partnership for life based on five key pillars: physical security, financial peace of mind, continuous care, a sense of community and exceptional hospitality.
You’ll find Evergreen’s award-winning retirement villages in the most beautiful parts of the country, at the end of sun dappled country lanes, perched on majestic mountain slopes, and within walking distance of our beaches, rivers, and wetlands. And you’ll find vibrant fun-loving communities enjoying the finer things in life – like good food, great company, lasting friendships, and a sense of belonging that is enabled by the resort-style facilities and amenities on offer.