Racing back the clocks to the 1970s-1980s, there was a time that the game of cricket was played differently. A bit more orthodox in style and a little too slow, the willows were thin, and the boundaries were big. However, one thing common between the cricket of the early 80’s and the modern-day game is the rivalry between the players. The determination to surpass the other remained constant throughout these magnificent years of the game. Now, if the likes of Babar Azam and Virat Kohli stand in great comparison, back then the legends of the game Sir Vivian Richards, Dennis Lillee, Kapil Dev, Sir Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Ian Chappel, Joel Garner and many others stood against each other in the great rivalry.
This article considers a comparison of game approach and the attitude of the two most renowned cricketers ever to play the game, Imran Khan and Sir Vivian Richards. While Imran Khan was a steam house of exhilarating energy and power, Sir Viv Richards was one-man army.
Playing for Pakistan, Imran Khan went on to become one of the best all-rounders in cricket in the mid 1980’s. Khan was one of the most successful Test match bowlers of his time. Whether it was his dominant performance on the English soil in 1981-82 or exuberant wicket-taking form against the arch-rivals India a year later. Imran soared records in that era. Regardless of his stats, it was the leadership ability and the energy level of Imran which made him one of the best captains in the history of Pakistan cricket. The all-rounder led his team, which he named cornered tigers, to the title victory in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992.
While Khan bossed his competitors with captaincy skills and vigor, Viv Richards strived on the strength of his shoulders and mental toughness. Vivian Richards was indubitably the best batsman of 80’s only 2nd to Sir Donald Bradman. The West Indian powerhouse averaged around 63 in the early 80’s against the top-quality bowlers including the likes of Dennis Lillee, Richard Hadlee and Imran Khan. The giant batsman introduced the concept of power-hitting in the books of cricket. Vivian Richards played with the strike-rate of 90+ in that era when the willows were not powerful enough and the boundary ropes were stretched meters apart.
The cricket pundits hardly kept the two top players side by side in a comparison, but this article took into account the attitude adopted by the two players towards the game of cricket. Their gameplay suggests that the both players were miles apart in their approach- one was a great leader while other was a dominator. Imran Khan build a team from the scratch and carried it to the world cup title while Viv Richards carried the legacy left by Clive Llyod. Imran Khan was a competitive batsman and a great bowler on the other hand Sir Vivian Richards was a surreal batsman and an effective spinner. Nevertheless, both were match-winners for their team and the history has gazillions example of these two players carrying their team home. Even now, when the cricket has revolutionized- one would love to swing back the times to watch Imran Khan steaming into ball with the power show Sir Vivian Richards waiting at the other end.