Richards to men­tor Warne’s T20 team

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

SYDNEY

Leg­endary bats­man Viv Richards was Fri­day named as the lat­est re­cruit to the ranks of Shane Warne’s Aus­tralian Twenty20 side, with the West In­dian to men­tor the Mel­bourne Stars. Warne, who will skip­per the team in the do­mes­tic Big Bash League, was keen to have the man dubbed the “Mas­ter Blaster” on­board for their sec­ond sea­son, and Richards said he was rel­ish­ing get­ting in­volved.

“I’ve been out of cricket for quite some time,” the 60-year-old told re­porters at the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground where in 1984 he smashed 208 against Aus­tralia in a Test. “To be given an op­por­tu­nity to come back to the scene of the crime, I’m very ex­cited about that.” Richards said he would be very hands- on in his ap­proach to men­tor­ing.

“I’m go­ing to be around. I’m not one of these in­di­vid­u­als who’s go­ing to be here ba­si­cally for my looks,” he said.

Richards, who is ac­knowl­edged as one of the great­est crick­eters of the 20th cen­tury, said he liked what he saw when it came to Twenty20 cricket — a shorter form of the game than the one­day in­ter­na­tion­als and Tests he played. “I my­self would have been happy to have played some of the shots these guys do to­day,” he said. “But that’s how time runs. What­ever pe­riod of time we had, I thor­oughly en­joyed it. I never try to look be­hind me.”

The Mel­bourne Star’s chair­man of se­lec­tors Ian Chap­pell said se­cur­ing Richards’ ex­per­tise was “a huge coup for the team”. “As a player Viv set him­self high stan­dards with for­mer Pak­istan cap­tain Im­ran Khan de­scrib­ing him as ‘a bats­man who in­tim­i­dated bowlers’,” he said. “He was also one of the best all-round field­s­men I’ve seen — bril­liant in any po­si­tion from cover to slips and even at bat pad.”

Mel­bourne Stars chief ex­ec­u­tive Clint Cooper said the team had as­sem­bled one of the most star-stud­ded T20 teams and coach­ing squads.

It in­cludes Aus­tralia’s high­est ever wicket-taker with 708 Test scalps in Warne as well as Sri Lankan Twenty20 star pace­man La­sith Malinga and Aus­tralia’s James Pat­tin­son and David Hussey. Richards scored 8,540 runs in 121 Tests and with his ex­plo­sive bat­ting played a star­ring role in the all-con­quer­ing Windies team that did not lose a Test se­ries be­tween 1980 and 1995.

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