Hitting boundaries has become too easy: Sir Viv Richards
Former West Indies captain, who was renowned for his ability to clear the fence at stadiums across the world, thinks short boundaries in limited-overs cricket are making a 'mockery' of the game
Antigua: Former West Indies captain Viv Richards thinks short boundaries in international limited-overs cricket are making a "mockery" of the game.
Sir Viv Richards
Richards was famed for his ability to clear the fence at stadiums across the world during the 1970s and 80s, earning him the title of The Master Blaster.
The 63-year-old thinks modern batsmen have it too easy as bat sizes have increased and the size of the playing arenas around the world has decreased following the introduction of boundary ropes.
"The boundaries that we see, especially with the improvement of bats you should have decent-sized boundaries," he told Press Association Sport.
"You can have a batsman who goes for a hook shot and because of the fact he is a little late on the shot he gets a top edge and because of the quality of that bat it goes for six. In my mind that is a mistake.
"That's the position the bowler would have got him into - making that false shot. When you think you have him it's sailing over the boundary."
The boundary rope during the Friends Provident Trophy match between Essex and Sussex at the County Ground in Chelmsford on April 27, 2008. Pic/Getty Images
International Cricket Council chief executive Dave Richardson suggested on the eve of this year's World Cup that the governing body could crackdown on the size of bats, but Richards believes that would be a mistake.
Instead he thinks increasing the size of boundaries to the distances of his heyday - when ropes were rarely used - is more appropriate. "I don't think so one bit (reducing bat sizes is the answer), just that the boundaries should be extended - to at least 80 yards in my opinion," he said.
"You have 60-65 yards that to me makes it a mockery to a degree. You can have a much more even balance if you can have boundaries that give bowlers a fair chance."
Scores at the World Cup this year were at an all-time high, with boundaries at Eden Park in Auckland just 55 metres long at both ends. That falls below the ICC's minimum standard of 64m.
However, the ground is exempt from the regulation because it has hosted international cricket before 2007. With the next World T20 looming large on the horizon - it will be staged in India in March - Richards thinks the ICC must make some steps to even the contest between bat and ball.
"To me little things like that need to be addressed if we do not just want to see sixes and fours," Richards added, "We have to remember that there are some other guys who participate as well."
Viv Richards was speaking to Press Association Sport in Antigua as a part of the Lord's Taverners' charity tour of the Caribbean island.