Dubai: Viv Richards, hailed as the king, had two surprise guests as he celebrated his 65th birthday in a private ceremony here on Tuesday. Legendary Sunil Gavaskar and Pervez Musharraf, former Pakistan president and a cricket buff, were present to make the occasion a memorable one at the residence of cricket enthusiast Shyam Bhatia.
A small gathering of cricket enthusiasts cheered for the legendary batsman who cut a cake which had his picture embossed on it and a golden candle.
Gavaskar, who was the commentator in the India-Australia match in Bengaluru, flew in immediately after the match to attend the function and drove straight from the airport to wish Richards. For those attending the function, it was a double bonus of seeing the ‘King’ and the original Little Master under the same roof.
Gavaskar had played in Richards’ debut Test in Bengaluru in 1975. It was at the second Test in Delhi of this series that Richards showed his calibre through an unbeaten 192 to inflict an innings and-17 run defeat on India.
While working on the profile of Richards during the annual Shyam Bhatia awards for cricket excellence in which Richards was the chief guest, Bhatia realised that Richards’ birthday was on March 7 and knew he may be in Dubai to fly back home after his stint as the mentor of Quetta Gladiators in Pakistan Super League (PSL). Gladiators reached the finals and Richards agreed to go to Lahore and then return to West Indies via Dubai. “We had a picture of his playing days on the cake, lit a golden candle as he is the golden man of cricket, and requested him to cut the cake.”
Speaking about the PSL final loss, Richards said: “It was disappointing to lose in the final but I am happy that my team played entertaining cricket”. On security in Lahore, he said: “It was too tight a security and I am happy that the final went off well.”