after SA's drawn out win in just under four days against Pakistan the only thing anyone should be discussing is why on earth did SA not ram home the advantage after bowling the visitors for 40, make them follow on and record a spectacular win in 2 days or just slightly over that. the answer to that is probably something to do with the broadcasters "suggesting" the follow-on not be enforced, backed up with the ground managers, who were presumably eager to ensure people with money turned up for at least a third day. instead of that it seems the discussions are all about two former SA cricketers who feel that they and their colleagues have been hard done by. very hard done by. but let's get to that just now.
Barry Richards, considered to be one of the greatest players of the game of all time, has expressed his disappointment about the SA side not wearing black armbands in the Test to mark the recent passing of two SA cricketers, Neil Adcock and Peter Van Der Merwe. cricket is arguably the last game standing where decency, respect and good conduct are considered important, so at face value he has something of a point. cricket has a long legacy of marking the passing of the giants that made the game us mortals love, consider if you will the emotional scenes at the first Test Australia played after the passing of Tony Grieg.
Richards loses the plot from here on out, it has to be said, so if you are some sort of Barry acolyte, you may wish to skip everything else in this post.
Barry has somehow got it into his head that the SA side did not wear armbands of respect for "political reasons". he is quite fed up of, in his mind, the wish of "the powers that be" to simply ignore everything before 1992, in particular cricket, if it means celebrating white people. then, in an astonishing statement, one that i believe the kids of today would call a "dick move", he puts forward the following interesting interpretation of history :
Richards said he was a victim of apartheid.
“I was three years old when the National Party came in to power in 1948, but I’ve paid the penalty.
keep talking about disadvantaged people - no-one’s more disadvantaged
than Graeme (Pollock) and me. We couldn’t have Test cricket and we’re
not recognised now."
yes, you read that right. Barry Richards believes he and his chum Graeme were the most disadvantaged by apartheid. in what i believe the kids would call an "even bigger" dick move, Mr Pollock goes on to agree with what Barry has said. feel free to read the whole article by clicking here
here's a picture of the disadvantage Pollock for you to look at whilst you let the gravity of the above fall in and sink into place.
leaving aside the, shall we say roughly, 30 million or so non-white South Africans who might consider themselves to have been a touch more disadvantaged than Mr Richards, let us look at his awful plight under apartheid. due to the cultural boycott imposed on South Africa, Barry Richards only got to play four Tests. after that, he was forced to go and make a good deal of money in the English County Cricket League, a generous amount of money in the Australian Sheffied Sheild tournament and an outrageous amount of money in the World Series Cricket circus. poor, troubled Barry. compare this horrid idea of getting to play sport around the world for money to, say, Steve Biko, who was brutally killed for daring to try to raise black consciousness and an intellectual, peaceful resolution to apartheid rather than seeing the country eventually torn apart and you can start to grasp just how disadvantaged Barry was.
the single most admired name in cricket, Sir Donald Bradman, named Richards as one of the greatest players of all time. he features in countless lists of greats and is celebrated far and wide. in all likelihood, barring the fallout from his drawing attention to how disadvantaged he is, he will likely be named President of Hampshire Cricket Club this year. you get the feeling that Barry will take this as an insult - after all, what is the presidency of a cricket club after years of tough, harsh and lucrative playing and broadcasting contracts compared to, say, being made President of a unified nation when all you appear to have done is be in jail for 27 years for the belief that all people are equal?
the only tragedy here is that Barry Richards, and to a certain extent his chum, has used the death of two cricketers to try and push through his arguably warped ideas about what does and does not constitute as being disadvantaged, and indeed to give himself the oxygen of attention.
please, please, please believe me that in some twenty years here i have never, ever met anyone who expressed views like the ones from Mr Richards in this interview. across the rainbow all i've ever seen and heard is a willingness for all to get on and get on with it.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!