The way Sachin Tendulkar has upped his game in the last four seasons, the great debate has only become hotter about who is the greatest batsman ever.
In most places, the world over, the team backing Tendulkar would win these debates hands down. But try convincing the Somerset residents!
The legacy of a certain Vivian Richards runs very, very deep in this county. The period in which he played here is termed the glory years of Somerset. It is the most successful era in the club’s history. He was the driving force behind the dream Somerset team, which included Ian Botham and Joel Garner.
“Viv means everything to Somerset. He is the hero here. He started his first-class cricket in England with Somerset. During his time with us from 1974 to 1986, we contested six finals, winning five of them. When he played, the stands would be packed," says Brian Rose, who captained that famous Somerset side from 1978 to 1983, when they won all the titles.
Former Somerset all-rounder Gary Palmer, who also played with Richards from 1981, says: “Sachin is one of the greatest, but Viv is like a God here. He put us on the map. May be we are a bit biased. For me they are the two best batsmen ever, and I have based a lot of my coaching on Tendulkar and Viv's batting.”
Nick Pringle started his cricket when Richards left Somerset after an acrimonious split, but grew up watching him bat: "He was a real destroyer of bowling, Tendulkar is more surgical and clinical.”
Rose recalls: “We were playing against Pakistan here and Abdul Qadir came on to bowl. I didn't have a clue, Viv walked in and two of the first three balls he hit into the river behind the stadium; Qadir was not the same bowler for the rest of the game.”