AUCKLAND: Lavishing praise on batting legend Vivian Richards, former New Zealand player Ian Smith has opined that the West Indian great would have been a "legend' in T20 cricket.
"He would have been an absolute legend in T20 cricket. They (T20 franchises) would have paid more money than Pat Cummins, Ben Stokes and all other guys put together, to get Viv Richards in their line-up, because it would put more bums on the seats," Smith said on ICC's video series 'Inside Out'.
"I believe Viv Richards would have made a go at cricket in any format in any decade. That's why, I mean you look at his strike rate which was superior to anyone else's at that time. That is a T20 strike rate without even having that game in his mind," Smith said of the 1975 and 1979 World Cup winner regarded as the most destructive batsman of his era.
"He would have been an absolute crowd-pleaser and television would have gone through the roof. I will sum it up by saying that whenever you sit down and pick all-time World XI, he is always in mind."
"I don't think I have ever -- in the time I played or commentated cricket -- seen a more imposing batsman come to the crease," Smith continued.
Explaining how intimidating Richards was during his time, he said: "There have been some really fine players who looked like they are very confident when they come to the crease, they own the situation.
"But no man has been more imposing to the point where I think opposition attacks and fieldsmen were intimidated by him.
"He came out, never wore a helmet, he had his beautiful west Indian cap, slightly to the side, Rastafarian arm band, a bat that looks like a toothpick in his hands and he was ready for a fight. It was really intimidating.
"He's one of the guys I used to stand behind think I have to concentrate so much on what he used to do because he might offer me a chance and I can't be carried away with his presence or what he's done," Smith said recalling his encounters with Richards.
Richards played 121 Tests and 187 ODIs in which he scored 8,540 and 6,721 runs respectively. IANS