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Sir Vivian Richards: The cricketer without a helmet

In a sangfroid-laced conversation, Sir Vivian Richards talks about cricket, health issues and representing the American University of Antigua.

Akash Banerjee |

In their odyssey of warding off medical health problems, the American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine, has struck adamantine bonds with succinct health care and education of highest quality, garnering diverse academic opportunities even for underrepresented minorities, thus attaining a multicultural verve ensuring indubitable professionalism.

In its association with Manipal Education and Medical Group, AUA has created a staunch symbiosis of intellect and medical advancement. Quite fittingly, the prodigal son of Barbuda, Sir Vivian Richards from the beautiful archipelago of Antigua whose bat rained fire on the stadiums filled with astounded faces, an epitome of robust health, is the brand ambassador of AUA.

The strapping 66-year-old, as humble as Earth, shared his views on AUA’s principles, the propensity of education along with medical care and reminisced his halcyon days.

Q. You’ve been a wizard, conjuring blizzards in the stadiums with your bat. In the ODIs, your strike rate is above 90, so that’s something which indicates annihilation. Can you recount one such match where it demanded all your dexterity?

I think it was in 1984, in the Old Trafford, 189, not out, against England. West Indies was struggling with a 112 for 8. With my partnership with Michael Holding, we pushed the score. So that’s me, the pinnacle when I was on the top of my game and everything was working (claps jovially) everything was in sync that day.

Q. The AUA is set for a novel and noble course. What are your views on the advantages that its programmes hold?

Well, with its relation to the Manipal Education and Medical Group, the AUA, which is on the island where I was born, I’m pleased to say, have taken such steps to cater to the vital importance of education. You know how critically important it is to stay fit. AUA is such an institution that can change people’s lives, and give opportunities to fulfil their goals, not just in Antigua itself but to all the people who wants to accomplish something in the field of medical health care. An individual imbued with knowledge, going out in the world, in my opinion, would make it a much better place.

Q. It’s a rapidly morphing world. Do you think that medicine is moving parallel with the myriad health problems in this world?

It’s being revolutionised, in my opinion. At some point, we’re all going to need medical attention. And having all these folks, the students that’d come to AUA will receive more than mere education. I’m in a different batting position today, which is of great help and hope, that I can encourage folks to continue batting. That’s why we’re here, to deliver a message – the importance of education and the importance of medical health care.

Q. That’s like convergence of illumination. Do you think AUA can provide panacea for the medically underserved countries?

Oh, surely, if that’s the correct thing I’m saying that the Manipal Group itself gives an opportunity to see exactly how to go about wisdom, for folks who can’t afford it. There are scholarships that can be very advantageous, of great help, for economically modest people.

Q. Let’s get back to the 22yards. With all due respect to the juggernaut that you are, were you wary of any bowler during your career?

I may sound ridiculously big-headed now, but I never had any fear of some guy running towards me. I always knew that I’d get hurt. You can get hurt walking across the street, you can get hurt driving a car; there are so many ways one could get hurt! But I just felt I was in a place solid enough. I was in control. I believed in my ability.

Q. You made your Test debut in India, in 1974, scoring an unbeaten 192…

Well, I got to say why I scored that 192…it was the second game, the first I scored dismally. The success was born out of failure. From Bangalore to Delhi, playing against the best spinners in the world, that is intimidating, isn’t it?

It was the first time I felt out of place, in Bangalore, facing a crowd much larger than the whole population of Antigua. My knees gave away… But that was baptism for me.

Q. Does the current scenario of the Indian cricket team looks promising to you?

Absolutely! As a batsman, I appreciate Indian batsmanship; it’s of high quality. I can vouch for Virat Kohli. Also, AB de Villiers was another hard-hitter before he retired. In the modern day, certain players do give the pleasure of the game. I’d say it without any fear, that cricket, from what I see now, is in a good place.