Appreciating the approach of India captain Virat Kohli, legendary West Indies batsman Vivian Richards said that sledging can sometimes bring the best out of a player.
“It can bring the best out of you. Nothing is wrong in doing it (sledging), as long as you don’t get too personal. Nothing is wrong in trying to get the guy do things which he doesn’t do normally,” Richards said speaking to the media in Guwahati. The former West Indies cricketer was in India to promote Manipal’s American University of Antigua College of Medicine.
Speaking further on the topic of sledging as current India-Australia test series witnessed some of verbal volleys, the former great said that India captain Virat Kohli is a great competitor.
“He (Virat) is good. You can reply only if you are good. If you are not, you can’t reply. So, I think Virat is good enough to stand up and be counted. You can have your good days but you will have more good days than bad days,” added the Antiguan.
Throwing more light into the Indian cricket, Richards said that from being a timid team, India has become an aggressive side under Virat Kohli.
“Especially, when you are playing in Australia, they have always been very aggressive not only the way they play but also the things they say. But Kohli can give it back. That’s very special. Kohli is good for Indian cricket. I like things like that. I like aggression,” he said.
Richards also said that it’s a great opportunity for team India to win the test series down under. He further added that team India need to perform more consistently overseas to emerge as a better team.
“It will be marvellous in my opinion, if Virat and co can do that,” he said.
On the Indian new ball bowlers, Richards said that things have changed over the years. The new set of fast bowlers have installed aggression in the team.
“To have (Ishant) Sharma, (Mohammad) Shami, (Jasprit) Bumrah…in the team is like wow! Good to see that. But they need to perform consistently overseas,” said the great.
On this transition, he also highlighted that “maybe that’s why sometimes you see that these days Indian batsmen tend to play fast bowlers better than the spinners unlike of Sunny and Viswanath era”.
Appreciating the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) where the third test between India and Australia is being played, Richards said that only a bigger boundary like MCG can provide a level-playing field for both bat and ball.
“With the evolution of cricket, boundaries are little small sometimes. Look at the MCG. How many sixes, have you seen there? This indicates that it’s a proper cricket ground. The bowlers should be respected by having decent enough boundaries to perform,” said Richards, who still has one of the best strike rates in both the formats of the game.