Antiguan Heroes: West Indies Cricketer Sir Vivian Richards
by Karen Rollins Sep 2, 2019
Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards was born in St John’s, Antigua in March 1952. He is widely acknowledged as one of the best batmen of all time.
Sir Viv attended St John’s Boys Primary School and then Antigua Grammar Secondary School on a scholarship.
He was introduced to cricket by his brothers Mervyn and Donald, who both represented Antigua as amateurs. Sir Viv also practiced with his father Malcolm, who was one of Antigua’s leading fast bowlers.
Sir Viv left school at the age of 18 and worked in a local bar and restaurant. He played cricket for St John’s Cricket Club and later Rising Sun Cricket Club.
In 1972, at 19, he made his first-class debut for the Leeward Islands in a non-competitive match against the Windwards. Sir Viv’s talent was recognised by Len Creed, vice chairman at Somerset County Cricket Club and he moved to the UK in 1973 to play league cricket for Lansdown before joining Somerset in 1974.
On 27 April 1974, Sir Viv debuted for Somerset against Glamorgan in a cup competition and won the Man of the Match award. In November, he made his West Indies Test debut against India in Bangalore. In the second Test of the same series in New Delhi, he made 192 not out.
In 1975, at the inaugural Cricket World Cup final, Sir Viv helped West Indies beat Australia in a match which he later described as “the most memorable of my career.”
But that was just the start of an illustrious and triumphant sporting life which lasted until 1993, and would see Sir Viv claim several more victories and honours, along with the nickname the ‘Master Blaster’.
In 1994, Sir Viv was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to cricket.
In December 2002, he was chosen by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack as the greatest One-Day International batsman of all time and the third greatest Test batsman of all time, after Sir Don Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar.
In 2006, Sir Viv received Antigua and Barbuda’s highest award, Knight of the Order of the National Hero.
During his life and career, Sir Viv has continued to make Antigua and Barbuda proud. He is one of the island’s most revered national heroes but he’s also a hero to countless people within the rest of the Caribbean and around the world.