It's important to perform abroad and earn respect: Barry Richards | india | Hindustan Times
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It's important to perform abroad and earn respect: Barry Richards

In an interview, Barry Richards tells HT that India must stop seeking a high ranking through easy home wins and instead find credibility by winning full Test series against major rivals abroad.

india Updated: Dec 16, 2013 00:46 IST
Khurram Habib
Barry Richards

Former-South-African-batsman-Barry-Richards-AFP-Photo

Barry Richards is said to be one of Test cricket's biggest losses.

It's said but for the sporting isolation because of apartheid, the former South Africa opener would have eclipsed many batting records.

Soon after he'd hammered Australia in his debut series, the isolation began, although he continued to pile up runs in first-class cricket.

Former South Africa paceman, John Watkins, says that he would rank Richards higher than any Spingbok batsman of that era - "he had a free mind and would play shots without any doubt".

These days, the 68-year-old leads a retired life.

If the apartheid era restricted him to four Tests in a single home series against Australia, his age and forthright views seem to be keeping him away from being involved in cricket in South Africa.

In an interview, he tells HT that India must stop seeking a high ranking through easy home wins and instead find credibility by winning full Test series against major rivals abroad.

India's batting suddenly looks shaky…
Well, they are not playing the West Indies attack at home. They are facing Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in South Africa, which is one of the hardest places to tour. Normally, if the batting average in India is 50, it'll become 40 in South Africa.

These guys like to hit through the line. In India, those shots can fetch you fours but here they'll go to slip and gully. They have talent, Pujara looks good. But I think they are fighting a mental battle against bounce and that's putting a doubt in them, as to what balls to leave. They need to get over that.

The No 1 and No 2 ranked sides are playing just two Tests. Does it reflect a decline in the importance of Tests?
It reflects that the BCCI controls world cricket. Any one board controlling cricket is not good news and the well-being of overall cricket is more important. India are extremely lucky they are playing a Test in Durban, where the conditions generally are not as testing.

And there is no New Year's Test in Cape Town where the conditions can be testing. If India want to be the best Test side in the world, they must play some decent Tests with South Africa, who are the world No 1.

But aren't India high up in the rankings?
I don't believe in stats and rankings. Look, if India play 20 Tests at home and keep winning, their rankings and averages will definitely improve. Similarly, if South Africa or any other country do the same, they'll also improve their rankings. It is important to perform abroad and earn respect than have plain stats and rankings do the talking.

Have you been following the Ashes? England look lost?
They are not good tourists. They generally struggle abroad. When you are touring, it is not just the pitches and conditions that you acclimatise to. You have to adjust to everything around you and assimilate.

There are distractions from everywhere, from crowd or everything. You have to ensure you don't get distracted and get affected.

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