Sir Viv sees his shadow in gung-ho Gilly

Published: Friday, January 19, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:If Don Bradman thought Sachin Tendulkar came closest to him when it came to batting, master blaster Viv Richards sees much of his traits in buccaneering Aussie stumper Adam Gilchrist, who, the West Indian legend believes, could prove decisive in an Australian World Cup win.

Perhaps the most destructive batsman in modern era, Richards was awoken in the middle of the night late last year when Gilchrist was threatening to smash his record for the fastest Test century in 56 balls.

''He woke me out of my sleep, man,'' Richards told the Sydney Morning Herald recalling the incident.

''Someone said to me that he was going great guns. It was very special. Things like that I love to see. You could say that I had a bad year in terms of holding onto records. There was Mohammad Yousuf (who overtook Richards for most runs in a calendar year) and then Gilly came within one ball. I have always been an individual who wants to see the game move forward. Cricket is alive and well when that is happening,'' said the charismatic batting legend.

''I loved that innings from Gilly. Doing what he did, scoring one of the fastest hundreds, at a time when you're at your lowest and not in the best of form, it goes to show you what he's about. He's a powerful player. It's not the ability, it's how mentally strong you are. He is a mentally strong guy to overcome what he did,'' he explained.

''To have accomplished what he did after that, he was not going to do it with a weak mind. Just the way he played, the way he went after the bowling was brilliant. He was a guy saying, 'This is how I play, I am going to back my style.' I loved it.'' he added.

Of the 46 batsmen who have scored more than 5000 ODI runs, only Gilchrist, Richards and Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya have achieved a strike rate of 90 plus and Gilchrist, at 96.39, is almost six runs clear of Richards and Jayasuriya -- besides his added burden of wicketkeeping.


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