There is nothing more exciting in cricket than the excitement and equal competition between a batsman and a bowler.
The conflict between the two players at the top of their games has always created an interesting rivalry and has been blessed to have witnessed several of them at different times in the history of cricket. From Sachin Tendulkar against Glenn McGrath to Sir Viv Richards against Jeff Thompson, the game has been seen as a legendary battle beyond 22 yards.
However, there are some conflicts that seem theoretically exciting but it will never turn into a cricket pitch. These are divided between the players by the IRA, with whom they fail to intertwine their respective playing careers.
In this series we play a few such hypothetical match-ups by closely examining the statistics of the players involved. In the Test format, West Indies icon Sir Viv Richards against New Zealand’s Trent Bolt.
Sir Viv Richards (right hand bat)
Player life: 1974-1991
Hundreds of years: 24
A player who had roads before time, Richards is the best player who has done this game well. Richards dominated the bowlers like no other in his era, Richards combined raw power with an equal share of fines.
Richards is the first name in the controversy for the best ODI batsman of all time, a batsman who has consistently pitched on the Caribbean every time. After all, in an era where his strike rate is above 90, where 60 runs per 100 balls is considered respectable, this is the very definition of an outlaw.
He is a player who will never look out of place in the modern era of T20 cricket and has avoided the possibility of running his own bat in the invention of the latest format of the game.
Although his limited-overs success naturally attracted more attention, Richards was an equally effective force in the Test format. 19 He was his ruthless best in 1976, during which time he scored 1,710 runs in a calendar year with two double tons and five centuries. This remarkable run included a 291 career best against England at the Oval. Even more remarkable is the fact that 1,110 runs came at a strike rate of around 99.
Trent Bolt (left hand fast)
Player life: 2011-running
Five-wicket haul: 15
Strike rate: 55.7
Now when it comes to left-armed seamers, Bolt’s name is the brightest. A pacer who can move the ball in two ways, Bolt’s ability to generate switches on helpless pitches sets him apart from the rest of his contemporaries.
Although he is a true all-format bowler, he is one of the best seamers when it comes to Test cricket. His new ball with Tim Southee has been a great hit for New Zealand over the years, with the pair taking 455 wickets in 55 Tests.
Bolt alone has scored 233 runs among them, with Southpo establishing himself as the third Kiwi bowler in history to be dismissed in at least 250 more Tests. In 2014, he became the fourth bowler in Test history to take at least 30 wickets in two consecutive calendar years.
For those who regard Wasim Akram as his childhood idol, Bolt’s bowling style is a great reminder of Pakistan. Like Akram, Bolt also has the ability to move the ball at a confusing speed while moving the ball from the seam to the air.
Although he can move the ball in both directions, Bolt’s ball has the ability to bring the ball back to the right-handers sharply which remains his most valuable asset as a bowler.
Richards vs. Bolt
With his ability to cross the line with considerable ease, Richards was very effective against left-arm bowlers, especially in the days of his lifting. While his average against right-armed bowlers is 41.25, it rises significantly to 655.92 when faced with left-arm bowlers.
Especially against left-armed pacers, his average is 611.28 and after being out on just seven occasions. It should be noted, however, that four of the seven dismissals were influenced by Wasim Akram. Although he has fallen to Akram four times in seven innings, Richards has managed to score 33, 123, and and 36 in that special innings. So, although Akram was able to enjoy the last laugh, Richards did a lot of damage even before he was fired.
But the Windies legend seems to be the weakest at the start of his innings. Out of his 1 Test Test dismissals, about 46 have come for single-digit scores. Once this hurdle was overcome, Richards often walked without a half-century. 42 of his dismissals came in 50-99 runs.
Bolt, on the other hand, is surprisingly more effective against left-handed batsmen than right-handed batsmen. Although 150 of his 27 wickets could come against the right-handers, they averaged 226.45 against them. In comparison, he has taken 11 wickets against the left-handers at an average of 24.47.
A number of bowlers increased their numbers due to their excellent performances against Taylander, but the same did not happen to Boult, as his total Test dismissal came down to bat from No. 1 to No. 133 against the batsmen.
He was most effective against the batsmen when he was new to the crease and against his 1333 out batsmen when they were still in the singles score, with 44 not out. A further 38 and 32 came in scores of 10-19 and 20-29, respectively. So, when it comes to the early weakness of the batsmen, he looks extremely deadly.
Richards ’dazzling record against left-armed pacers speaks for itself, although his austerity to cross the line has theoretically exposed him to the late-in-swinger. Dismissing him at the hands of Wasim Akram suggests that he will present a chance to the left-handers despite his already standing at the crease. When he had a few fights with Akram, Richards was already at the end of his career and Pakistan’s pace was exploding in this great international scene.
Richards was a completely different beast in his peak years and could have had a better time against Akram’s speed and oscillations.
For Bolt, the key is to exploit Richards’ early weaknesses and he is in a good position to judge according to his record. If Richards can survive Bolt’s first attack, the self-proclaimed batsman should be able to impose his authority on the rules. If Bolt is not able to do the initial damage, Richards would expect to run at least half a century.
On top of that, you will support Richards to win this battle at least seven times out of 10 times. The stats are also in favor of Windies Stallwart, although Boult is expected to give him a tough time if the switch and SIM conditions are ideal.
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