If there was one batsman who revolutionized power hitting in the early 70s and 80s, it was Vivian Richards. Known for his swag, constant chewing gum, and no helmet batting, Richards was the epitome of a destructive batsman and even Tendulkar had said many times that he was inspired by Richards’s batting style.
Not many bowlers had the pace and skill to trouble the destructive player, however, Richards himself has now revealed about one particular ball which he believed was the quickest he ever faced.
Speaking to Cricinfo, Richards talked about Wasim Akram who was bursting on the international scene when the batsman was at the twilight of his career.
“One of the quickest deliveries I have ever, ever encountered, and I believe there was someone upstairs looking after me. I had some hair left then, somewhat of a mini-Afro and this one went by so quickly, I could hear it hitting the wicketkeeper’s gloves and I said, ‘Wow, wow.’” Richards said while talking to Cricinfo
Many cricketing pundits have agreed that while Akram’s bowling speed was around 135 Kmph, his bowling felt faster. Vivian Richards retired on 12th August 1991 along with Jeff Dujon and Malcolm Marshall.
Akram was a part of the 1992 World cup and his heroics in the final, both with the bat and ball helped Pakistan to clinch their maiden World Cup victory under the leadership of Imran Khan.
Vivian Richards was part of the World cup winning West Indies team on two occasions. The flamboyant batter used to hit sixes at will and considering the bigger boundaries and the lesser wider bats in that era, it can be said that Richards packed enormous upper strength which every bowler feared of.
“I can remember also that I did say to the individuals, the batsmen in the West Indies team at the time, I said, ‘Hey man, good luck to you guys, having to encounter that guy on a regular basis man.’ Wasim, he was very, very special. Up to this day, I still see that particular delivery. I have nightmares about it every now and again,” he added.
Wasim Akram had both the inswing and outswing that did not allow the batsmen to take charge. However, his lethal weapon was the reverse swing with the old ball in the death overs. He and Waqar formed a lethal bowling pair that terrorized batsmen all over the world.
Akram went on to amass 414 wickets in 104 matches and retired at the age of 35 in 2002.