Sir Vivian Isaac Alexander Richards, popularly known as Viv Richards, was the most swashbuckling batsman in the seventies and eighties and one of the most devastating batsmen in the history of cricket. He was phenomenal in both Tests and One Day Internationals and won two World Cups for West Indies. Hailing from a small island like Antigua, Richards entertained millions of cricket fans with his magnificent batting for almost two decades. He was always seen wearing a cap (he never wore a helmet) and walking out to bat with loud cheers of spectators from behind.
But what if Viv Richards played in this era?
The most prolific run-getter across formats
Richards represented West Indies in 121 Tests and 187 ODIs. He averaged 50 and 47 in Tests and ODIs respectively. Well, there are many others who have better stats. But why is Richards so special? That's because his strike rate in Tests was 86 and 90 in ODIs. Remember, he played in the era when batsmen were not known to be very aggressive. But Richards was not a slogger by any means. You cannot score over 8500 runs in Test cricket by slogging. His batting was a combination of controlled aggression and excellent game sense. With two new balls and one fielder less outside the circle in the middle overs in ODIs, Richards would have been highly successful in white ball cricket if he played in this era. Richards had to play in pitches that were lethally unpredictable. With more docile pitches and rules being on the batsmen's side, Richards would have been a prolific run scorer across all formats. And he could have played more matches than he played in his career and it would have enriched his stats.
A T20 hotcake
Richards was known for smashing the bowlers all over the park and when in the mood, he would toy with any bowling attack any day. With the typical West Indian swagger, his batting style would have suited to T20 cricket. If he played in this era, he would be a hotcake for the T20 franchises across the world. His ability to slaughter the bowling attacks would have prompted the T20 franchises to go berserk for him. According to Ian Smith, team owners would have paid more money to him than the likes of Cummins and Stokes, the two highest-paid cricketers in IPL, put together.