It was common knowledge throughout the cricketing world that sledging Vivian Richards was on the whole counter-productive. Younger county pros coming up against the great man for the first time were instructed, in no uncertain terms, to button it when he arrived at the crease.
Unfortunately, skippers could do nothing about the crowd winding him up, as a terrific interview in the new Wisden Cricketer reveals:
Did anyone dislike your famous leisurely walk to the crease?
VR: 'There were crowds who wanted to test me, especially in a hostile environment like Yorkshire. 'Hurry up' they'd say. That's why, when you look at the records and you see Vivian Richards' record against Yorkshire, I think I could be high up where averages and runs are concerned. Sometimes you get crowds who give you that opportunity to hate everyone. My beef was with them. And the guys who were representing them on the field were going to suffer. That was a simple, plain fact.'
It didn't help England much either:
'You had guys who didn't believe in the black man. If you feel you are superior to me, you should be knocking me over every goddamn time. There were a few assholes out there. All these factors were motivation for how my innings would go'.
And we all know how most of his innings went. That's why he's the King, my friends...