By Carlena Knight
Despite the insurmountable pressure to walk in his father’s footsteps, Mali Richards, son of cricketing legend Sir Vivian Richards, says it was a joy to have him as a father.
Many children of sports legends have felt the pressure put on by society due to their parents’ fame, but Richards, who is now making a name for himself as a cricket commentator, says it is a joy being the son of a national hero.
“It’s thoroughly enjoyable to be honest. Just looking back at it, it’s always been fun. We have had a few negatives that go along with that, but more often than not, it’s been very exciting and I enjoy being the son of Viv Richards,” said Richards.
The 37-year-old joked that the pressure he received from being a famous offspring was nothing compared to that from his other family members and former coach.
“I grew up in a rich sporting family, from not just my father, but also my mother’s side with uncles William and Alfred, so pressure came from all angles. My uncles were very keen on us as kids with our careers so we used to get pressure from all sides,” he laughed.
“I grew up under Taddy Arindell, so imagine being a cricketer, and Viv’s son, and one thing you know about Taddy is that he prepares you for the next level. He never puts you in that comfort zone,” he added.
He revealed that pressure was even greater back in his years of playing cricket for the Leeward Islands and national team where he had some success.
In 2003 and at the age of 19, Richards broke a long-standing scoring record in the Leeward Islands Cricket Tournament, hitting 319 for Antigua and Barbuda against a combined US and British Virgin Islands team. The effort eclipsed the previous record of 318, which was held by Alex Adams of Anguilla, but he understood from the age of 11 that it came with the territory.
He also had a stint with Middlesex County Cricket Club and also played for Oxford UCCE and the Gloucestershire 2nd XI.
Richards says that despite the pressure, he was not ‘fazed,’ but instead expected it, as it came along with the territory.
“It would come along with what I was showing. At the time, it looked like I could have been a pretty decent player, and it looked really promising at one time, so I understood the comparisons and the pressure. It just goes along with it. It’s just how you deal with it,” he explained.