Legendary former West Indies captain Sir Vivian “Viv” Richards said he never chased former Trinidad and Tobago opening batsman, Richard Gabriel off the field during a Benson and Hedges Limited Overs Cricket match in Australia in 1984.
Sir Viv commonly known as the “Master Blaster” has been maligned, cursed and abused by Trinidad and Tobago cricket fans who saw the incident as an attack on their own.
The episode occurred at Perth in a tied encounter between West Indies and Australia. Clive Lloyd was the captain, but Richards was deputizing for Lloyd when the incident occurred.
Larry Gomes, the Trinidadian part-time off-spinner, was operating at the time and bowled a short delivery outside off-stump to Kepler Wessels who was cut down to deep point. Gabriel gingerly running around close to the boundary failed to pick up the ball and it cannoned into the fence.
Richards recalls that he never sent Gabriel off the field because he wanted to discipline him as the commentators said at the point in time. Richards added that Gabriel indicated that he had a hamstring problem so Richards point that Gabriel could go off the field after that effort.
The match was the second game of the World Series finals and ended in a tie. Television replays of the incident show Gabriel pointing to his right hamstring after recovering the ball. Gus Logie, his fellow Trinidadian, replaced him on the field for the remainder of the match.
After the incident, fans at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair, Port-of-Spain, refused to give Richards a good reception until they consumed their choice beverage and the Antiguan was murdering the bowling of the opposition.
There will always be “talk” of Viv not liking Trinidadians and this did not go down well with the batting genius as he showed otherwise on many occasions.
The legend Viv has sat with Kings, presidents, prime ministers, and top celebrities, exuding a class that is equal or even above them. Long live, the “King of the Caribbean”.