When Sir Vivian Richards speaks, you better listen! The West Indian legend is arguably the greatest ODI player of all time and was known for intimidating bowlers in an era where batsmen feared for their safety from pace bowlers. So, when the great Antiguan was asked at India Today's Salam Cricket event, who was the one batsman among all those that have played in the World Cups, whom he would choose to bat for him, his answer was keenly heard.
Obviously, modesty precluded his own name which was mentioned by most other panellists but he had many other great options. Sachin Tendulkar, who has scored more World Cup runs than anyone else and Virat Kohli, considered by many as somebody on his way to becoming the greatest of all time, must have been the likeliest of names that Sir Viv was expected to say in his answer.
But instead, the great man decided to go for a surprising choice – Jos Buttler of England. However, if one thinks about it, the choice of Buttler isn't as unexpected as many would surmise. If one has followed the career of the wicketkeeper-batsman since 2014, they would know that he possesses a unique ability to play the most destructive knocks. He has twice broken the record for the fastest hundred by an Englishman in ODIs and, in the World Cup match against Pakistan which hadn't taken place when this event was recorded, scored the fastest hundred for his team in World Cup matches.
While discussing the choice of Richards during their commentary stint in the England-Pakistan match, Nasser Hussain and Wasim Akram, who were part of the panel, referred to Richards' comments. Hussain did point out that there may be a slight sentimental aspect to the choice of Buttler by the legendary cricketer from the Caribbean as he also played for Somerset, Buttler's county team, in his days in English domestic circuit.
Still, to be regarded by the great man as the one he would choose to bat for him is an unparalleled honour. It's a testament to the freakish ability that the Englishman possesses. Thanks to his strong bottom hand and wristwork, the 28-year old is able to manoeuvre the ball into most areas of the field, regardless of the line. Furthermore, he possesses such brute power than even a gentle push races to the boundary. This combination of muscle and ability have seen Buttler become one of the most dangerous batsmen in the international circuit.
Sir Viv also said that he feels Buttler "is going to get things done" for England in this event. If bowlers weren't aware of his prowess till now, they better be. To be picked ahead of the likes of Kohli, Dhoni and Sachin by somebody who might be better than all of them is a huge honour.