Dhaka: Richie Richardson, the West Indies batting great who captained the side in two World Cups, marvels at Sachin Tendulkar’s longevity as a topflight cricketer and staying at peak form.
Richardson, here as manager of the West Indies World Cup team, feels the 37-year-old Tendulkar still has some more years of international cricket left in him.
“I find it simply unbelievable … unbelievable, the way he keeps going, he is a great guy,” Richardson told in an interview.
Asked if Tendulkar will be playing his last World Cup, Richardson was not sure: “I am not very sure, he could go on for some more years the way he is playing.”
“And when he is at the crease, it seems he has it in him to play four-five more World Cups,” he quipped.
“Sachin is a great ambassador for the game,” said Richardson, who captained the World Cup teams in 1992 and 1996.
Richardson, 49, lavishly praised Virender Sehwag, saying India would stand a bright chance of winning every match if he stays at the wicket for long.
“He is destructive, He can toy with any bowling attack on his day. If he spends more time at the wicket, the chances of India winning a game are high. And if he can sustain his form, India can win the cup, too”.
Born in Five Islands, Antigua, Richardson made his Test debut in India in 1983 under Clive Lloyd and his international career ended in 1996.
The right-handed batsman said he was also impressed by the current crop of Indian spinners, including young leggie Piyush Chawla and greenhorn off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
“Harbhajan (Singh) is a seasoned performer. Chawla is good, but I am highly impressed with Ashwin.”
“I have seen them bowl in the warm up games. I feel spinners will have a big role to play in this World Cup as they will get assistance from the sub-continental pitches.”
“A bowler does well when he has variation and both Chawla and Ashwin have it.”
Richardson, however, said there are no clear-cut favourites in this World Cup.
“Australia are the defending champions who have some talented players. India are certainly doing well. South Africa also have a number of top players and England are a strong team.”
“But, if you ask me I will say a dark horses is going to surprise you,” he said.
Who did he thinks were the dark horses? Pat came the reply: “Well, you can look at me,” clearly indicating that West Indies could be the team.
Richardson, who played 86 Test matches scoring 5,949 runs, also turned out in 224 One-Day International matches aggregating 6,248.
He said though the West Indies no more wore the tag of favourites, the team was confident of doing well.
“We are trying very hard. We have lot of good players, though we may not have stars or superstars”.
Richardson did not agree that the team’s fortunes depended heavily on Chris Gayle.
“We play a team game.”