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Sir Viv: Cut back on the fun!

Sir Viv: Cut back on the fun!

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If West Indies cricketers’ social lives are hampering their performances on the field of play, then the answer is simple, cut back on the fun!

It sounds simple, but the great West Indies former captain, Sir Vivian Richards, says it is as simple as that.{{more}}

“If you are not having success and you are still partying for some reason and having fun, a good message is not being sent,” said Sir Viv, when he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT on June 24 during the first One Day International cricket match between the West Indies and Australia, at the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex.

Sir Viv said that when he led the successful West Indies team of the 1980s, it was no secret that he and the guys had a good time off the field, but noted that on the field the team excelled.

“You must know your limits, if you are going to be involved in a professional sport – there are professional things you have to do,” the great right-handed batsman, who had a spectacular 17-year test cricket career said.

Now 56, Sir Viv has teamed up with Johnny Walker Scotch Whiskey in their “Know Your Boundaries” promotion.

He told SEARCHLIGHT that when he was contacted to play the ambassadorial role for the product last year, he jumped at it because he found the awareness drive to be crucial for today’s society.

“It is about responsibility and knowing your limit, but it wasn’t an awareness programme to ram anything down your throat,” he said.

The promotion encourages moderate drinking and highlights the importance of designated drivers and similar protective measures.

“When you come to events like this (the One Day International match), people are going to have a drink or two, or three, or four, so it is important that they know that even though you drink and have a good time, you can still be responsible,” Sir Viv said.

The West Indies cricket team never lost a test series under Sir Viv’s leadership and he has been known to be a forceful captain who put his neck out for certain players that he had confidence in, despite public opinion to the contrary.

He spoke to SEARCHLIGHT about this.

He said that as a leader, one has to be able to make decisions and be willing to take the criticism, but not wilt under external pressures.

“Sometimes as a leader you have to go with what you feel. We have to trust what we feel as leaders,” he said.

He said former West Indies captain Carl Hooper is an example of him going against the odds to back a player that he thought was special, despite his relatively modest returns.

“They used to say Carl Hooper is my godson. I loved what I saw in Carl Hooper…I don’t think he fully accomplished the stuff with the talent that he had, but Carl Hooper is class, class!”

As for the next great West Indies batsman, Sir Viv isn’t absolutely clear on his choice.

When he was in his heyday and started to journey to the end of his career, there was no doubt that double world record holder, Brian Lara was the heir to his throne as the best batsman in the West Indies, and even the world.

The choice isn’t as clear at this time.

Sir Viv identified Nevisian batsman, the 18-year-old left-handed Kieron Powell, and Jamaica’s Xavier Marshall, as two young batsmen with potential to watch.

“Clearly on potential, though, because they haven’t done anything yet in terms of performance,” said Sir Viv, who was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the recommendation of his native Antigua in 1991.

Sir Viv averaged 50.23 and 47.00 in tests and One Day Internationals, respectively.

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