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Watch: ‘Realised it was my time to go’ – The Wasim Akram bouncer that still gives Viv Richards nightmares

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Watch: Wasim Akram bowled a lethal yorker to Viv Richards during the 1988 World Series. Richards later admitted to having contemplated retirement after the ball.

Pakistan gained the early advantage after dismissing Richie Richardson in Hobart, but the West Indies bounced back. Desmond Haynes scored a fine 101, off 112 deliveries before Imran Khan trapped him leg-before. That brought Richards to the crease in a curtailed 43-over-a-side clash.

The great man was not at his fluent best that day during his innings of 10, and was particularly troubled by Wasim in the 42nd over of the innings. Wasim sent a fast bouncer that virtually climbed up Richard’s chest and onto the big gloves of wicketkeeper Saleem Yousuf in no time.


Though it was called a no-ball, but Richards remembered it as “one of the quickest deliveries” that he faced, and how the replays still gave him nightmares.

He later confessed to ESPNCricinfo: “[It was] one of the quickest deliveries I have ever, ever encountered, and I believe there was someone upstairs looking after me. I had some hair left then, somewhat of a mini-Afro and this one went by so quickly, I could hear it hitting the wicketkeeper’s gloves and I said, ‘wow, wow.’ Wasim was a young man, coming on to the scene, and I was heading towards the exit door so I was glad that while he was coming then, I was going.

“I can remember also that I did say to the individuals, the batsmen in the West Indies team at the time, I said, ‘Hey man, good luck to you guys, having to encounter that guy on a regular basis man.’ Wasim, he was very, very special. Up to this day, I still see that particular delivery. I have nightmares about it every now and again.”

Wasim recalled the moment in The Grade Cricketer: “It was a no ball. I played 356 ODIs when a short bouncer was a no ball. I don’t know who came up with that stupid rule. Imagine, on slow Pakistani subcontinent pitches… front foot, just smash them anywhere and everywhere, so I’m glad the bouncer is back.

“Viv told me, not straight after, but around five or six years ago. He comes to Pakistan regularly, he is the mentor of Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League so he’s there for a month. So he said, ‘Thank God to the bouncer that I realised it was my time to go.’ So, coming from the greatest of all time is a huge deal to me.”

Richards played 34 more ODIs after the game, retiring in May 1991.

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