Monday, 28 March 2011
The popular press tells Fantasy Bob that this week the iconic Athena tennis girl poster is 35 years old exactly. Younger readers - yes an unlikely concept but FB lives in hope - accustomed as they are to the constant bump and grind saturated world of the skimpily covered Rhianna and company may well wonder what all the fuss is about. But in 1976 this image was risque. It sold by the million. But it was also wistful and nostalgic - something that Rhianna may struggle to achieve.
FB confesses that he possessed this iconic image. it was a gift to him from a tennis partner with whom he had a romantic liaison - or was it a romantic partner with whom he had a tennis liaison - and who in a certain light and from the right angle might have convinced a jury that she was the model in the photo. As far as FB can recall possession of the poster may have given various pleasures but it did little to improve his serve and volley.
In search of lost moments - as that great slip fielder Marcel Proust might have put it.....a sniff of the madelaine and FB begins to wonder what might be the iconic cricket image of 1976? FB suggests that there can only be one.
The Master Blaster masterly blasting the English bowling to all parts of a drought kissed England. For that was the hottest summer since records began - particularly for English bowlers and batters. W Indies won the Test series 3-0 as Tony Grieg regretted his pre-series fighting comments about making them eat dirt.
As usual the statistics tell it all. Richards was W Indies leading bat - in 7 innings he made 829 runs at 118.42. England's leading bat was David Steele (an iconic figure in his own right and a walking embodiment of both the Dunkirk spirit and the spirit of cricket) with 308 runs in 10 innings at 30.80.
Denis Amiss played only the last Test and scored 219 runs in his 2 visits to the middle. Richards scored 291 in the same Oval Test - his top Test score. Over the test series his SR was 69.78 which is in CWC territory.
In bowling it was the same story. Holding and Roberts took 28 wickets each, at 12.71 and 19.17 respectively. Bored with battering Edrich and Close with short stuff at Manchester they pitched it up and demolished England for 71. Of all the English wickets to fall that summer only 3 went to slow bowling. Deadly Derek, Underwood, topped the English bowling with 17 at 37.11.
But Richards was on a roller coaster that year. In the eleven Tests he played from January to August he scored 1,710 runs with the style and consistency of a great player. No other batsman in the history of the game had scored nearly so many in a calendar year. Coming to England there were worries that the W Indies might be fatigued after playing Australia and India - so what do we make of the modern schedules as tiring players out?
Sir Vivian Richards - all time great and icon of 1976.