Viv Richards joins Warne at BBL’s Stars

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If you’re going to get a blast from the past, you might as well get the master blaster himself.

Big Bash League (BBL) team Melbourne Stars announced on Friday that West Indies batting great Viv Richards would join their staff as a mentor.

“You hear some say a blast from the past. Why not add some of that blast from the past to what we have at present?,” the 60-year-old Richards told reporters at the MCG.

“If we have individuals who are receptive enough … I think I can help in that category.

“To be given an opportunity to come back to the scene of the crime, I’m very excited about that.

“I’m going to be around. I’m not one of these individuals who’s going to be here basically for my looks.

“It’s all about helping some of these young individuals.”

Stars captain Shane Warne, 43, has been a constant critic of Australia’s dual World Cup-winning former coach John Buchanan.

Warne accused Buchanan of over-complicating things and famously described a coach as “something you travel in to get to the game”.

It’s a line Warne borrowed from Australia’s 1970s Test skipper Ian Chappell, who is also on the Stars’ staff this summer as chairman of selectors.

Head coach Greg Shipperd will be assisted by Brad Hodge (batting), Richards (team mentor), Damien Wright (bowling), Trent Woodhill (fielding), Shawn Flegler (spin and strategy) and Jeremy Snape (sports psychologist).

Richards, named alongside Warne in Wisden’s list of the five cricketers of the 20th century, says he shares the philosophies of Warne and Chappell.

“I’m one of these individuals who try to keep things as simple as possible,” the former West Indies skipper said.

“Sometimes, you get coaches in the modern day who, there’s so many little things you hear them speak about.

“The game of cricket is still the same. It’s still the same routine that you go through.

“I’ve always been in that lane – to be as simple as possible.”

The Stars boast a strong team on and off the field and are favourites for the BBL title, in a season which starts with the Stars’ away game against Melbourne Renegades at Etihad Stadium on December 7.

Richards knows all about the pressure of expectation, winning two World Cups in the 1970s in one-day cricket and dominating the Test scene in the 1980s.

“Part of our job with that star-studded team in the background is for us to just keep things at the level … to be in that particular lane where individuals mentally are solid enough to do the job,” Richards said of his role with the Stars.

“People like Ian Chappell, who I’ve always had admiration for, he’s as good as anyone else to be direct.

“That’s the way I love it.”

Richards said of Warne: “Anywhere Shane Warne is and whatever he’s involved with, he thinks about success and that’s the nature of the individual.”

© AAP 2014
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