King Richards' love affair with Kotla...
Viv Richards' debut in the Bangalore Test of the 1974-75 series vs India was a forgettable one as he just could not tackle Bhagwat Chandrasekhar. He welcomed Richards to Test cricket by giving him a torrid time and dismissed him for four and three
However, It took Richards just one Test to get into the groove, making amends in the next Test at in Delhi. He made the Indian bowlers toil as he cracked an unbeaten 192 in reply to India's total of 220. He batted for five hours and his scintillating knock was laced with 20 fours and six sixes. He added 124 with No 9 Keith Boyce (68). However after his brilliant ton in Delhi, Richards’ next best effort was a 50 in the fourth Test at Madras. WI won the series 3-2.
The next time Richards stepped on to Kotla was in 1983. In a high scoring game, which ended up in a draw, he made an impact by smashing 67 off just 70 deliveries in the first innings. The centurions in the match were Sunil Gavaskar (121), Dilip Vengsarkar (159) and West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd (103), but Richards’ 67 too left a mark.
The love affair with the ground continued in 1987. Arguably, the most intimidating batsman of all time turned the game on its head, playing a match-winning knock in the fourth innings. Batting first, India were dismissed for 75 and in reply, WI could only manage a lead of 52. India then posted 327 riding on Dilip Vengsarkar’s ton. Chasing 275 to win, WI made it possible thanks to Richards’ 109 off 111 balls. Walking in at 91 for three, he tore apart the Indian bowlers to win by five wickets.
If not with the bat, then with the ball! In the 1989 Nehru Cup against India, West Indies put up a modest total of 196. Richards was run out after scoring 44 — perhaps the only way to see the back of him at Kotla. Chasing the target, India were shot out for 176 and it was Richards who perplexed the batters with his off-spin, bagging six wickets in 9.4 overs.