Apartheid may have restricted South African cricketer Barry Richards’ international career to just four Tests but former Australian player Ian Redpath still rates him as the best batsman he’s ever seen.
“When he was playing for South Australia, he hit 300 in one day in Perth,” Mr Redpath told Ballarat Christian College pupils on Friday.
But who does the former Australian vice-captain rate as our best batsman? His top three – in order – are Greg Chappell, Bill Lawry and Ian Chappell.
Geelong based Mr Redpath was at Ballarat Christian College in Yarrowee Street to bowl the first ball on their new cricket pitch.
He also held a clinic for aspiring primary school cricketers.
He gave some batting tips about how to control the bat while still producing maximum power, and gave a demonstration in correct bowling techniques before a question and answer session.
When asked what he thought about the current Australian cricket team, Mr Redpath said “these fellas are bright eyed and bushy tailed”.
“This group has come through hard times, they’ve come into two really tough series.”
Mr Redpath played 66 Tests and five one day international games for Australia between 1964 and 1976.
He made his test debut on New Year’s Day in Melbourne in the second test of the 1963-64 series against South Africa.
Opening the batting with Bill Lawry, the pair made 219 before Mr Redpath was bowled out on 97.
He went on to become Australian vice-captain to Ian Chappell in 1974-75 and to Greg Chappell in 1975-76.
Renowned as an outstanding fielder, he took 83 Test catches, is still among Victoria’s top 10 run-makers of all time, and was also the last Australian Test cricketer to play as an amateur.
Ballarat Christian College principal Michael Stewart said the pitch was developed after it was decided to enter a school team in the Ballarat Cricket Association junior competition.
“Hopefully we can be part of the primary school competition next year,” Mr Stewart said.
He said the $10,000 pitch, which was constructed over the school holidays, was internally funded.
“We want to concentrate on our primary school teams and encourage the kids to get involved in cricket.”