Colombo: He has closely watched Chris Gayle evolve as one of the most destructive batsmen in the current era but former West Indies captain Richie Richardson maintains that Sir Vivian Richards was "far more feared by bowlers" than the Jamaican opener.
"Both (Gayle and Richards) have had significant effect on bowlers of their respective eras. But if I analyse closely, the international bowlers would much rather bowl to Gayle than Richards. Specially in Tests, Richards was more dominant than Gayle. So I would say Vivian Richards was more feared batsman than Chris Gayle," he said.
"But yes, in T20 cricket, Gayle is the most destructive batsman," Richardson, who has played for a decade alongside the legendary West Indian, told PTI in an exclusive interview.
Asked whether Gayle would have found a place in Clive Lloyd's West Indies team of 70s and early 80s, Richardson replied, "It's hard to compare two eras as situations were different. We had the world's best opening pair in Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes.
"I was a specialist opener who had to play at No 3 as we had such fantastic openers. I don't know whether Gayle as an opener could have replaced either Greenidge or Haynes. If you look at his Test average, it's not more than the Greenidge or Haynes.
"Yes, if you talk about the ODI side, may be he (Gayle) would have. Remember one thing....a great player yesterday is a great player today," the former cricketer, who played 86 Tests and 224 ODIs, said.
While comparing the temperaments of Gayle and Richards, Richardson said, they are like chalk and cheese.
"When Viv was around in the West Indies dressing room, he would ensure that he was heard. He had that presence, the booming voice and was an extrovert. Gayle, on the other hand is an introvert, a man of few words. You would hardly hear him speak. But Gayle's presence adds a lot to the team."
Asked about Darren Sammy's captaincy, Richardson was all praise of him.
"He has been a great ambassador for West Indies cricket.
He is just like what a captain should be. Before he was made the captain, he was still playing for the West Indies and there a few people who are jealous of him but he has done a great job so far.
"Credit should also go to coach Otis Gibson whose work ethic has been excellent and he has brought the team together as one unit. He is the manager of the team and by his own words, his job is to keep the players happy by looking after their needs but also ensure that the discipline is maintained in the side," said Richardson.