Barry Richards, who turns 71 today, is our Legend of the Week, brought to you by Aquavita.
Richards is widely recognised as one of the greatest batsmen in the world, despite the fact that he played only four Tests – all against Australia in 1969-70– when his international career was brought to a halt by isolation. One of the more memorable was the Durban Test of 1969-70, when he and Graeme Pollock flayed the Australian attack to all parts of the ground.
He was left to express his enormous talent on the fields of Hampshire, South Australia, Natal and with Kerry Packers World Series Cricket,
He finished with a first-class tally of 28 358 runs, 80 centuries and an average of 54.74. Between 1968 and 1976, when Richards played in the English county championship for Hampshire, he scored 15 607 first-class runs for the county at an average of 50.51. Once, against Nottinghamshire, he scored an unbeaten 225 out of a team total of only 344.
His highest first-class score of 356 came in 1970-71 for South Australia against Western Australia, a team whose bowling attack included Dennis Lillee, Graham McKenzie and Tony Lock. Of the 356, 325 came in one day, off a mere 322 balls, as Richards slammed 44 fours and a six.
It is almost forgotten, though, that Richards made a powerful stand against South Africa’s segregationist policies. He, along with Peter Pollock and Mike Procter, initiated a protest in which the South African team walked off the field in a match between Transvaal and the Rest of South Africa at Newlands in 1971 to oppose the ban on black players being in their Springbok team. The subsequent tour to Australia was then called off.
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images