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Why Viv Richards never wore a helmet

Last updated on: May 8, 2013 16:53 IST

Why Viv Richards never wore a helmet

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Harish Kotian

West Indies great Vivian Richards on the all-conquering West Indies teams of the 1970s and 80, why he never donned a helmet while batting and his addiction to chewing gum.

Vivian Richards is adored and respected throughout the world, but one country which always makes him feels special and loved is cricket-crazy India.

"I also felt when I retired in 1991 that I was dead and buried, but coming to India I realised you have kept me alive," said the West Indies batting legend, who is serving as mentor of Delhi Daredevils in the ongoing Indian Premier League, on Wednesday.

Richards felicitated some of Mumbai's local coaches at a function organised by the DY Patil Sports Academy at their cricket stadium in Navi Mumbai

"No one can ever forget the coaches, because without you there wouldn't be any of us," he told the coaches.



Image: Vivian Richards at the felicitation function for coaches at the DY Patil Sports Academy
Photographs: Harish Kotian

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'Under Clive Lloyd West Indies cricket changed'

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Richards was an integral part of the West Indies team that dominated world cricket in the 1970s and 80s. He believes that their captain, Clive Lloyd, played a major role in their rise.

"I made my debut here in India; then to Sri Lanka, to Pakistan and then we went to Australia. And in Australia I realised that it was very different. My father used to tell me that this is a gentlemen's game, but in Australia I found out it wasn't.

"Those days we used to play six-Test matches and we were beaten 5-1 and we were called all sort of names. It was then that Clive Lloyd decided and said enough is enough and we are gonna take these guys on.

"He said if we could get a few bowlers who could bowl as fast as them or fast then we would see how they play them. We found those guys by 1975 and it was strange that those guys who called us names, now the shoe was on the other foot, and it was so nice to see these individuals running away and looking for a place to hide.

"Clive Lloyd was the godfather, and under him West Indies cricket changed," he said.


Image: Vivian Richards presents a momento to former India medium pacer Balwinder Singh Sandhu
Photographs: Harish Kotian

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'I wouldn't be doing the cap any justice if I had anything else on my head'

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Asked why he never opted to wear a helmet despite playing in an era when fast bowlers loved to bowl bouncers to unsettle batsmen, Richards replied: "What I always felt since I was a little boy is that when you are given a cap to represent your country, with the emblem, and you wear at the top of your head, not everyone gets that opportunity.

"And given that opportunity as a young boy to wear the cap, I felt I wouldn't be doing the cap any justice if I had anything else on my head.

"And because of that proudness of wearing that cap I felt that god would protect me in the middle from whatever I was facing out in the middle."


Image: Vivian Richards batting without a helmet against Derek Pringle of England in 1984
Photographs: Adrian Murrell /Allsport
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'Disappointed no one approached me to advertise cheweing gum'

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On his famous practice of chewing gum every time he walked out to the middle, Richards said it had become a part of his cricketing life.

"I gave the chewing gum such a workout I am disappointed that no one approached me for advertising. I did the chewing gum a world of good; it was like my little brother.

"There were times when you walk in to bat and you would forget and I would be like I have forget something and I would make sure that before facing the first ball someone has to run as quickly as possible and give me that chewing gum so I feel comfortable," he said.


Image: Vivian Richards presents a momento to veteran coach Vasu Paranjpe
Photographs: Harish Kotian
Tags: Richards

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