Legendary former West Indies captain Sir Vivian Richards says the Caribbean side will need to improve their batting if they are to compete at next year’s World Cup in England and Wales.
The 66-year-old, considered the most feared batsman of his generation, said West Indies had gotten away with totals during the recently staged ICC World Cup qualifiers which would definitely be punished by the bigger teams.
“There were a few matches that I believe that they came up short in terms of runs,” Sir Viv was quoted as saying.
“But at the end of the day they had the bowlers to defend whatever they scored, but in the big league they will need to score more runs.”
West Indies coasted into the all-important Super Six second stage of the qualifiers in Zimbabwe without a loss but then suffered two batting lapses to almost squander their World Cup chances.
In the opening game, they suffered a three-wicket defeat to Afghanistan after being restricted to 197 off their 50 overs, and in a must-win contest against Scotland, laboured to 198 all out before eking out a five-run victory under DLS following rain.
The fortuitous result earned the Windies their place in the World Cup, an achievement Sir Viv said was important based on the Caribbean’s history.
“I won’t say I am relieved because I felt that they had a strong enough team in order for them to win and qualify,” he said.
“West Indies have a World Cup pedigree and that makes all of us proud in the Caribbean.”
He added: “It would have been a huge loss had we not qualified. It would have been like Manchester United or Liverpool not being in football’s Champions League.”
Sir Viv was a member of the Clive Lloyd-led Windies team which won the inaugural 50-overs World Cup in England in 1975 but is best remembered for his sparkling 138 in the second tournament four years later as the Caribbean side successfully defended their title.
He was captain of the side which lost the 1983 final to India, also in London.