Fantasy Bob has 2 messages today.
The first is good luck to Scotland who play UAE in the first of 2 Pepsi World League matches - victory would be a step along the way to 2015 World Cup qualification. Come on boys!
Fantasy Bob has eulogised about Richards before. FB was only once in the great man's presence. On Monday 28 July 1980 FB was stationed in Northampton about to move to Edinburgh. He took himself to London for the day, to the Oval where the Fourth Test was underway. The match had started on Thursday and England had scored 370. At close on the second day W Indies were 42 for 2 with Richards on 14*. Saturday was washed out and in those days Sunday was a rest day. So on the Monday, as FB sat himself under the gasometer in bright sunshine, it was Richards who swaggered to the crease. FB and the rest of the crowd purred in anticipation of an exhibition of attacking stroke play and gum chewing from the great man. The sense of disappointment that went round the ground when his great mate Botham had him caught by Peter Willey in the gully in the first half hour was palpable. Out for 26. FB saw him score a mere 12 runs.
The match ended in a draw, but not before England had wobbled on the final day to find themselves 92 for 9 and only 197 ahead. It took an heroic partnership between Peter Willey, who ended 100*, and Bob Willis, 24, to put England out of harm's way. FB had a vested interest in Willey who played for Northants, FB's home at the time.
W Indies won that series 1-0, the matches were badly rain interrupted. But FB regrets that he hadn't the wit or imagination to have made the opportunity to come to London earlier in the summer - at the Lords Test in June, Richards had shown his true class, scoring 145 off 159 balls. Just one of FB's many regrets.