Sir Viv looks back on his time at Taunton
One of our greatest ever players appeared on local radio recently.
Sir Viv Richards was a guest on Ben McGrail’s BBC Somerset programme and talked about his time as a Somerset player
“I still have a lot of love for the County,” he said. “We had a great time and the West Country folks were some of the nicest that I have come across. It was my home away from home.
“Coming from the beautiful island of Antigua, Somerset had that same sort of quietness and the sort of life that I would certainly have had back home. Somerset was the sort of substitute in a way except that the weather was a little bit unpredictable!”
How did he feel when the opportunity to join Somerset came about? “I felt that it was the greatest thing that could have happened to me at that time,” he said. “Even as a young kid I had a passion for the game itself and I used to listen to the commentary of people like John Arlott who used to describe things in such a manner and I just wanted to be a part of that.”
What was the secret of Somerset’s success during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in what have become known as the Glory Years? “You have to find the characters,” he said. “People who have a passion for representing that County. You need a bunch of individuals who feel like they can accomplish something together. You need to be singing from the same hymn sheet. That is of vital importance for any team looking to make any headway.”
Sir Viv was impressed by the performances of fellow West Indian Chris Gayle for Somerset in 2015. “He’s just a magnificent player. He’s a big strong lad. He will swing and whenever he’s on song it’s always very exciting.”
Would he like to be playing in the T20 era? “We invented that kind of cricket didn’t we?” he said. “It didn’t matter what kind of cricket it was, it was ‘see ball hit ball’. It was as simple as that. We didn’t try to complicate issues. I guess there are times when you have teams where the players have too many things on their minds and they can complicate things. If you can keep it simple, that for me is always the best.”
What was his most memorable six for Somerset? “It could be one that was hit in the river,” he said. “There were some guys who were doing some casual fishing and apparently the ball fell right in to their little dinghy. There were people in the stands asking them to throw the ball back but they said no because it was the only thing they’d caught all day!”
It wasn’t just the County Ground that he enjoyed playing at as he explained: “We used to play at places like Weston-super-Mare and Bridgwater which were always good in terms of the support that Somerset had at the time and I used to really enjoy going to all the little villages. We would stop there for a pint or two and it was always very special.”
Sir Vivian Richards was speaking with BBC Somerset’s Ben McGrail. For the full interview please visit the BBC Somerset website by clicking here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0358pf1#play