1. Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, KNH, OBE , known as Viv Richards, is a former West Indian cricketer.
2. He is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. Richards was voted one of the five Cricketers of the Century by a 100-member panel of experts in 2000, along with Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs and Shane Warne.
3. Overall, Richards scored 8,540 runs in 121 Test matches at an average of 50.23, including 24 centuries.
4. As a captain, he won 27 of 50 Test matches and lost only 8.
5. He also scored nearly 7,000 runs in One Day Internationals and more than 36,000 in first-class cricket.
6. Knighted for his contributions to cricket, today Richards is an occasional cricket commentator and team mentor.
7. His brothers, Mervyn and Donald, both played the game, representing Antigua as amateurs, and they encouraged him to play.
8. The young Viv initially practiced with his father and Pat Evanson, a neighbour and family friend, who had captained the Antigua side.
9. Richards made his first-class debut in January 1972 when he was 19. His competitive debut followed a few days later.
10. Playing in the domestic West Indian Shell Shield for the Combined Leeward and Windward Islands in Kingston, Jamaica versus Jamaica, he scored 15 and 32, top-scoring in the second innings in a heavy defeat for his side.
11. By the time Richards was 22, he had played matches in the Antigua, Leeward Islands and Combined Islands tournaments.
12. In 1973, his abilities were noticed by Len Creed, Vice Chairman at Somerset, who was in Antigua at the time as part of a West Country touring side.
13. Richards relocated to the United Kingdom, where Creed arranged for him to play league cricket for Lansdown C.C. in Bath.
14. He made his Lansdown debut, as part of the second XI, at Weston-super-Mare on 26 April 1973.
15. Richards was also employed by the club as assistant groundsman to head groundsman, John Heyward, to allow him some financial independence until his career was established.
16. After his debut he was promoted to the first team where he was introduced to the Lansdown all-rounder “Shandy” Perera from Ceylon .
17. Richards cites Perera as a major influence on his cricket development especially with regards to post-game analysis.
18. He finished his first season at Lansdown top of the batting averages and shortly afterwards was offered a two-year contract with county side Somerset.
19. Richards then moved to Taunton in 1974 in preparation for his professional debut with Somerset CCC where he was assigned living accommodation by the club; a flat-share with two other county players: Ian Botham and Dennis Breakwell.