Dubai: Back in his playing days, the legendary Viv Richards always took extra pride in the West Indies beating England. The Master Blaster was understandably delighted at the Caribbeans’ landmark 2-1 Test Series win over Joe Root’s team at home last month.
“Yes, I am very happy for the cricket our boys played at the first two Test matches. England, who tried to find excuses by complaining about the wicket (at St. Johns Antigua), were literally caught with their pants down,” Richards told Gulf News in an informal chat during his birthday bash in Dubai.
‘The King’, as he is called, had been camping in the emirate for over last few weeks in his role as the mentor of Quetta Gladiators team in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL). As the teams headed back to Pakistan to play the final leg, Richards stayed back to spend his 67th birthday here on Thursday as the matches in Karachi were put off by two days.
Shyam Bhatia, the Dubai-based businessman and cricket promoter, had invited Richards to celebrate the occasion with a quiet get-together at his home.
“For a couple of years now, I have been spending my birthday in Dubai as it’s coinciding with my role with the PSL team. It was nice to spend time in a family atmosphere here,” he said.
Richards, who had been the guest of honour at Shyam Bhatia Cricket Awards in 2017, was extremely appreciative of the charity initiatives undertaken by Bhatia’s Cricket for Care — under which he had been distributing cricket kits to underprivileged children and schools in different parts of India, black townships in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan among other countries. “I really admire the work he (Bhatia) has been doing and the sport can certainly do with more such initiatives,” he added.
The 19th edition of the Bhatia awards will be held at premises of Bhatia Cricket Museum on Sunday, with Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara as the chief guest.