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Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 08:36 GMT
Croft quizzes Richards
Colin Croft interviews former team-mate Sir Vivian Richards for BBC Sport Online on the occasion of the great Antiguan batsman's 50th birthday
Colin Croft (CC): Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, born on 7 March 1952, 50 years old today. How does it feel?
Sir Viv (VR): It feels pretty good. I am very thankful to God for giving me some good health, strength and the things to carry on, to be who I am.
I am just extremely happy that I have reached that particular milestone. As a kid, I never expected that I would have lived and enjoyed such things as I have.
CC: Over 8,000 Test runs, 121 Test matches. Maybe you can run through some of your own highlights of your career.
VR: I do not think that I would touch on what I have done personally, because maybe I could spend all day with you.
What I can say is that the thing which sits out in my mind more than anything else is when we won that first World Cup in 1975. Then we went on to repeat that in 1979.
I say that because we are from the Caribbean region and there are times that we hear that we all think differently, sometimes even criticise each other on occasions.
But when we were able to lift that World Cup, on both occasions, I could imagine that the Caribbean came together then.
CC: Are you, as the only West Indies cricket Test captain never to have lost a Test series, embarrassed at what you see from the senior West Indies cricket team these days?
VR: It was nice that that happened.
But there were many people who worked very hard for that success. That was not done by Viv Richards alone.
It was done by many, with Viv Richards in charge as captain.
It was nice to have such people as the late Malcolm Marshall who were pretty instrumental in that success, with the knowledge being passed on.
It was great to be with individuals who wanted to play and play well. It made the captain's job easy.
CC: How would you go about changing the fortunes of West Indies cricket, to make them winners again?
VR: We've got a discussion and forum this week about taking West Indies cricket forward.
It is evident that we are not fully sure who is in control. This has been a huge problem.
We need to not pass the buck, but let individuals know what their roles are in the team.
If you are there for management, then manage. If there is a coach, then he must coach. I just believe that sometimes we can have too many chefs in the kitchen.
CC: What about passion? There are those who suggest that match fees take more of an important position than wanting to play for the West Indies.
VR: Anyone who is going to want to put the cart before the horse would probably not have much movement.
When we first started, it was just the fact and pride of wearing that maroon cap and blazer. All of the older players wanted to simply achieve those goals.
To me, that was of vital importance. If you can deliver the goods while dressed in that gear, then whatever monetary gains you achieve are due to you - but at least you will have done the crawling stage before you can walk.
CC: Last week, Brian Lara was selected as Sportsman of the Year for Trinidad & Tobago.
In his acceptance speech, he suggested that he wanted to try to emulate you, to try to go pass you and your records for West Indies cricket.
VR: Yes, definitely, and why not? I believe that all records are there to be broken. I would be quite happy if Brian Lara broke my records. I would not have anything nasty to say.
It would have been done by a great individual and I think that one has to have been in that status of greatness to accomplish such things.
CC: Sir Viv. Congratulations on being 50. You still look as if you should be playing, but of course without any hair on your head.
VR: Thank you very much. I hope that I can grow some again!
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