Sir Viv Richards voted county cricket’s greatest overseas player by BBC Sport users

0

Sir Viv Richards has been voted as English county cricket’s greatest overseas player by BBC Sport users.

He took 43.2% of the final vote, finishing ahead of another former West Indies captain, Sir Clive Lloyd (9.2%), and ex-New Zealand all-rounder Sir Richard Hadlee (8.5%).

Richards, now 68, represented Somerset and Glamorgan in the English domestic game and was named as the best overseas player at both counties when BBC Sport ran votes for each individual county side in May.

The 17 county winners then went through to the overall vote. The full result, along with more information about all of the contenders, can be found below.

Allan Donald

The South Africa fast bowler nicknamed “White Lightning” spent 13 years associated with Warwickshire, taking 536 first-class wickets in 141 games.

That figure included 88 in the 1995 County Championship title defence. The Bears had an option to re-sign Brian Lara that summer, on the back of his record-breaking, treble-winning year in 1994, but the Warwickshire committee stuck with Donald, who had been representing his country on a tour of England the previous season.

Donald also claimed 245 one-day scalps for the Bears, helping them win the NatWest Trophy in 1989 and the 1997 Sunday League.

Donald was the winner of Warwickshire’s vote with 42%, ahead of West Indies batsmen Lara, Alvin Kallicharran and Rohan Kanhai.

Four players from African countries made the 17-man shortlist: Allan Donald, Ken McEwan, Brian Davison and Mike Procter

Asif Iqbal

The Pakistan batsman was the winner of the Kent poll, taking 56% of the vote ahead of West Indies all-rounders Carl Hooper and John Shepherd, as well as Sri Lanka batsman Aravinda de Silva.

Asif was also a brilliant fielder and bowled medium pace, helping to win four Lord’s one-day trophies, three Sunday Leagues and two Championship titles.

He also won 58 Test caps in and around his 13,231 runs in 243 first-class games for Kent, who he captained in 1977, 1981 and 1982.

Added to that were 5,554 one-day runs in 241 games and 179 wickets in both forms, during 14 years of service between 1968 and 1982.

Brian Davison

Batsman Davison was the winner of the Leicestershire poll with 56% of the vote, ahead of West Indies opener Phil Simmons, paceman Winston Benjamin and South African batsman Hylton Ackerman.

Bulawayo-born Davison made 18,537 runs in 303 first-class games in 14 years with Leicestershire between 1970 and 1983, hitting 37 tons. He also scored 6,744 runs in 276 one-day games.

Davison returned to England to play for Gloucestershire in 1985, before ending his career with Tasmania in the last of several winters playing Sheffield Shield cricket.

He played for his native Rhodesia before they achieved Test status as Zimbabwe.

Sir Clive Lloyd

Lloyd won the Lancashire vote with 66% from Pakistan all-rounder Wasim Akram, five-times pre-war Championship winner Ted McDonald and Indian wicketkeeping legend Farokh Engineer.

He served as a player from 1968 to 1986, before taking an Old Trafford committee role between 1993 and 2012.

The left-handed batsman played 219 first-class games for Lancashire, hitting 30 centuries in a haul of 12,764 runs, spread around a glittering West Indies career, which included captaining his country to victories in the first two World Cups.

He was a serial one-day trophy winner in his 273 games; the first two one-day league titles (1969 and 1970), followed by four Gillette Cups between 1970 and 1975.

He was twice man of the match in finals, thanks to a memorable 126 against Warwickshire in 1972 and again in 1975 against Middlesex.

Three West Indies legends and cricketing knights – Sir Viv Richards, Sir Curtly Ambrose and Sir Clive Lloyd – were included in our shortlist

Sir Curtly Ambrose

The Northamptonshire vote was one of the more evenly contested, but Ambrose came out on top with 47% ahead of Pakistan all-rounder Mushtaq Mohammad, paceman Sarfraz Nawaz and Indian spinner Bishan Bedi.

Between 1989 and 1996, the West Indies Test fast bowler took 318 wickets in 78 first-class matches and 115 wickets in 95 one-day appearances for Northants, highlighted by two scalps in Northants’ NatWest Trophy final win over Leicestershire at Lord’s in 1992.

He also claimed 405 Test wickets, leaving him 15th on Test cricket’s all-time list.

Darren Lehmann

Yorkshire’s infamous old rule that a player must be born within the county’s borders was abandoned in 1992 when they recruited a teenage Sachin Tendulkar.

The future India superstar did well, making 1,070 County Championship runs and a further 540 in one-day cricket, but he, Kane Williamson and Jacques Rudolph were all eclipsed by Darren Lehmann with 69% of the Yorkshire vote.

Lehmann made 8,871 runs in 88 first-class matches for Yorkshire in six seasons at Headingley between 1997 and 2006, all at the prodigious average of 68.76, while also making 5,481 runs in 139 limited-overs matches.

Capped 27 times at Test level by Australia, he went on to become his country’s head coach. He was cleared of any wrongdoing by Cricket Australia during the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018, but chose to resign at the end of that series.

David Boon

In a tight Durham vote, based on their first 28 seasons as an English first-class county, the stocky Australian batsman claimed 33% of the poll to just edge out South African Dale Benkenstein and two more Australians, Michael Di Venuto and Callum Thorp.

Boon helped shape Durham into a competitive force after seven years of scratching around at the bottom of the County Championship table and inspired them to Division One for the start of the new two-tier league structure in 2000.

He scored 3,007 first-class runs and another 1,465 in one-day cricket.

Desmond Haynes

Picked up 52% of the Middlesex vote to win from former West Indies team-mate Wayne Daniel, Australian opener Chris Rogers and South Africa fast bowler Vintcent van der Bijl.

Haynes made 7,071 runs, at an average of 49.10, in 95 matches during his five seasons at Lord’s between 1989 and 1994, including 21 of his 51 career centuries.

He also made six more tons in one-day cricket, scoring 4,105 runs for Middlesex in 96 matches, and helped Middlesex win three trophies; the County Championship in 1990 and 1993, plus the Sunday League in 1992.

Two New Zealanders, Sir Richard Hadlee and Glenn Turner, were joined on the shortlist by Australian duo David Boon and Darren Lehmann

Glenn Turner

The New Zealand opener claimed 73% of the Worcestershire vote, well clear of Australian all-rounder Tom Moody, fast bowler Vanburn Holder and Turner’s former opening partner Ron Headley.

Turner made 72 of his 103 first-class centuries for Worcestershire, the highest made by any overseas batsman in English county cricket.

Those tons were among his 22,298 runs at an average of 52.09 in 284 first-class games between 1967 and 1982.

One of the select band to make 100 first-class centuries, Turner reached the landmark in his final season against Warwickshire at New Road, making 311 not out in the day and scoring at least 100 runs in each session.

He still holds the world record for the highest percentage of runs in an innings – 141 not out, out of 169 against Glamorgan at Swansea in 1977.

Imran Khan

Pakistan’s World Cup-winning captain of 1992 and future prime minister made 7,329 runs and took 409 wickets in 131 first-class games for Sussex between 1977 and 1988.

He also made 4,298 runs and claimed 209 scalps in List A cricket, helping Sussex to two Lord’s one-day final wins.

That was enough to secure him 63% of the Sussex vote ahead of Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, Zimbabwe batsman Murray Goodwin and Australian paceman Steve Magoffin.

Having been educated at Worcester’s Royal Grammar School, Imran began his career with his ‘home’ county, Worcestershire. He made 42 first-class and 48 one-day appearances for them, but the majority of his time in county cricket was with Sussex.

Ken McEwan

In a well-contested Essex vote, McEwan finished top with 36%, ahead of current captain Ryan ten Doeschate, Australian batsman Mark Waugh and West Indies all-rounder Keith Boyce.

The prolific South African batsman plundered 18,088 runs in 282 first-class matches between 1974 and 1985, including 52 of his 74 career centuries.

He helped Essex win their first three Championship titles in 1979, 1983 (when he was top scorer in the country with 2,051 runs) and 1984.

McEwan was also a key part of their first five one-day trophy victories in that same successful era, hitting 13 more tons and 47 half-centuries in 274 matches.

Pakistan duo Asif Iqbal and Imran Khan, along with Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara, were the three players from Asia on the shortlist

Kumar Sangakkara

The Sri Lanka legend was the winner of the Surrey vote with 40%, clear of West Indies bowler Sylvester Clarke and Pakistan leg-spinners Saqlain Mushtaq and Intikhab Alam.

Sangakkara made 14 tons in just 33 matches in three seasons between 2015 and 2017, totalling 3,400 first-class runs at an average of 62.96 and 1,941 in limited-overs cricket.

Those figures are dwarfed by his run-making deeds for Sri Lanka; 12,400 in 134 Tests, 13,975 in 397 one-day internationals and 1,382 in 56 T20 games.

Sangakkara had already made his mark in county cricket during short periods with Warwickshire and Durham, but his sheer quality of batsmanship and happy, smiling countenance left a marvellous impression at The Oval.

Malcolm Marshall

Pace bowler Marshall, 20th on the all-time list of Test wicket-takers with 376, died in 1999 aged 41.

He took 826 first-class and 239 List A wickets in his 11 years with Hampshire spread between 1979 and 1993, in between four tours with the West Indies to England.

Marshall also weighed in with 5,847 first-class runs, including five centuries and 26 fifties, and a further 2,073 in one-day cricket.

That helped earn him 47% of the Hampshire vote, ahead of classy South African batsman Barry Richards, Richards’ long-standing Hampshire opening partner Sir Gordon Greenidge and the game’s second highest Test wicket-taker, Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne.

Michael Holding

After half a season for Lancashire in 1981, the West Indies fast bowling legend moved to Derbyshire.

In six seasons between 1983 and 1989, he took 224 first-class wickets in 66 games and also claimed 154 one-day scalps, while scaring any number of top-line batsmen along the way.

The man they once called “Whispering Death”, a tribute to the comparative silence of his graceful and smooth run-up, is still a popular figure in cricket as a television commentator.

Holding won the Derbyshire vote with 51% ahead of New Zealand Test opener John Wright, South African all-rounder Eddie Barlow and South African batsman Peter Kirsten.

Michael Holding, Desmond Haynes and Malcolm Marshall were among the six West Indies players in our shortlist

Mike Procter

All-rounder Procter made his Gloucestershire debut played only seven Tests because of South Africa’s apartheid regime, but he became a star in county cricket with 14,441 runs and 833 wickets in 259 first-class matches after his debut in 1965.

In 223 one-day games, he made 5,631 runs and took 280 wickets, capped by his televised four wickets in five balls at Southampton in the 1977 B&H Cup semi-final against Hampshire, which set up the second of two trophies in the ‘Proctershire’ era.

He claimed 56% of the vote ahead of West Indies’ leading Test wicket-taker Courtney Walsh, Pakistan Test great Zaheer Abbas and Australian one-day trophy-winning inspiration Ian Harvey.

Sir Richard Hadlee

New Zealand Test all-rounder Hadlee was voted the PCA Player of the Year in Nottinghamshire’s trophy-winning seasons of 1981 and 1987.

He represented Notts for 10 successive seasons between 1978 and 1987, taking 622 wickets and making 5,854 runs in 148 first-class games, alongside 2,951 runs and 231 wickets in 160 List A games.

Along with Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Ian Botham, Hadlee was ranked as one of the four great all-rounders of his era.

Hadlee polled 43% in the Notts vote, ahead of Sir Garfield Sobers, South African all-rounder Clive Rice and Australian David Hussey.

Sir Viv Richards

West Indies batting legend Richards was a runaway winner of the Somerset poll, taking 90% of the vote ahead of his international team-mate Joel Garner, Australian all-rounder Bill Alley and South African paceman Alfonso Thomas.

He first joined Somerset in 1974 in the same batch of new arrivals as Ian Botham, Vic Marks and the late Peter Roebuck.

On top of his 8,540 Test runs for the West Indies, Richards hit 58 centuries in his 14,698 first-class and 7,349 one-day runs for Somerset until 1986, when he and Garner were ousted as overseas signings, and Botham resigned in protest, but not before the county had won five one-day trophies from 1979 to 1983.

He also had four seasons with Glamorgan at the tail end of his career, not arriving until he had turned 38.

However, his impact and helping the Welsh side win the 1993 Sunday League title were enough to win him that county’s vote with 38%, ahead of Glamorgan’s County Championship-winning Pakistan batsman Majid Khan, Pakistan paceman Waqar Younis and Australian fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here