Legend Sir Vivian Richards says the World T20 wins by men's and women's teams mark the greatest period ever in West Indies cricket since the glory days of Clive Lloyd-led outfits of 1970s and '80s
How can any West Indies cricket achievement beat the period of dominance in which the Clive Lloyd-led teams won two World Cups (in 1975 and 1979) and were beaten in a Test series only once after 1975-76 (by New Zealand in 1979-80) till the time Lloyd quit the game in 1985?
Double whammy: West Indies' women's team captain Stafanie Taylor (left) and men's skipper Darren Sammy pose with the ICC World T20 trophies at Kolkata's Victoria Memorial yesterday. Pic/AFP
According to Sir Vivian Richards, the chief batting architect in that glorious period, Sunday's ICC World T20 victories by the women's and men's teams come close. "This is the greatest period ever since that wonderful phase involving Clive's team. Considering the success that West Indies team had on a consistent basis, this is the closest any West Indies team would have got in terms of pride among all nations that make up West Indies cricket," Richards told mid-day from Antigua yesterday.
'WI had belief'
Richards, who took over the captaincy mantle from Lloyd in 1985 and led the team till his 1991 retirement, didn't lose a Test series. He reckoned self belief played an important part in West Indies' Sunday glory and the quality was aptly epitomised by Carlos Brathwaite, who hit four sixes in the last over to deny England their second World T20 triumph.
Sir Vivian Richards
Richards didn't appear surprised by Brathwaite's stunning show. "Carlos is a determined guy. I worked with him in the West Indies 'A' team (Richards was Technical Director in the Brathwaite-led team in Sri Lanka). He is strong, big and took it away from England. If someone has that kind of belief, anything can be achieved.
"Belief is the greatest thing to have as a competitor. You may have talent and ability but the most important thing to have is belief and of course, enough ammunition and personnel to chase down anything that the opposition sets," Richards, who kept abreast of West Indies' progress while playing golf.
He had expressed supreme confidence in the West Indies team before their semi-final clash against India. "I think it's the best opportunity (to win) regardless of the fact that they are playing India at home. "These guys have got to believe that all things can be accomplished. I believe West Indies have a great chance," Richards told this newspaper before the March 31 game.
Is this best time for the administrators to sort out their differences with the players? Richards is hopeful, but didn't sound optimistic: "Judging from what Darren Sammy said in his post-match comments, it didn't sound all that good. "I am just hoping that the folks who didn't play a huge role on the administrative side of things, are not going to jump and start acclaiming that they have done this and that."