“Warner’s racket is about 63mm wide, mine was 18mm. You now get a top edge and you’re guaranteed six but for me, the Ranger came back and grabbed it. That sums up where we are. Bats are like weapons now.”
Richards is now 75 and lives in Knysna, along the Garden Route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. He has little to do with cricket other than sponsoring a scholarship at his local school and capturing parts of the action on TV.
He remains in contact with his old colleagues and fears for the health of Graeme Bullock, who now has Parkinson’s disease. “I spoke to Graeme yesterday. It’s not all right even me, Bruce [Mike Proctor] Try to stay in touch to raise it. We keep an eye on each other even though we live in different parts of the country.”
It has been the year of half a century for Richards. In March, it was 50 years since he scored 126 points in what would be his last Test run before the start of South Africa’s sporting seclusion and the triple anniversaries of that triple century in one day.
Both went unnoticed in South Africa. They belong to a past that many want to forget, as Richards and his teammates feel ostracized by the country’s cricket board.
“They don’t want us. They call us pale, male and old. These are their words, not ours. They’ve been going on for a long time. I remember Gerald Majula. [former Cricket South Africa chief executive] Saying, “You had your time, our time is now.” Summarize where they want to go.
“What can you do? It’s disappointing for the game because there is so much knowledge that is not being tapped into. Think of Bruce, Vince van der Bell, myself, Graeme Bullock, Peter Pollock. All these people can add value. But it’s not part of the DNA now.” “.