Richards quashes Qasim Umar

"Viv (Richards) would think this is a ridiculous statement and would not give it much attention," said Mervyn, younger brother of Sir Viv when MiD DAY contacted him in Antigua for a reaction to former Pakistan batsman Qasim Umar's drug charge last night.

Sir Vivian Richards

He promised to talk to his brother to let us know his reaction. When we spoke to Mervyn again, he had some news for us: "Viv thinks this is the most ridiculous thing he has ever heard and he will not comment on it."

Former Pakistan batsman Qasim Umar reportedly said on a television show that Viv Richards took performance-enhancing drugs during his playing days.

According to a PTI report, Umar said that Richards, "himself confessed to him that he used to take drugs to release tension and improve his stamina and endurance levels."

"Firstly, I don't think cricket is a sport where performance can be enhanced by consuming something. It is played between the ears. Viv never needed to do something like that," Mervyn said.

He put it down to jealousy. "This has come up at a time when Usain Bolt is breaking records. It's funny how allegations are made against extraordinary players. Yes, Viv was enhanced by something. It's called passion.

His cricketing passion was his drug. The only thing he used was something for his eyes" Umar's accusation caused Mervyn to remind us about Viv's early years. "Viv slept with his cricket bat," he recalled.

Mervyn, a football administrator, was delighted when told that Viv, at the height of the match-fixing controversy, called match-fixing tantamount to treason.

"There you go... that's the kind of regard Viv has for this game. He would never do anything which went against the spirit of cricket," said Mervyn, who was a decent cricketer himself. In fact, his mother believed he was more talented than Viv. But in an interview, Mervyn once said: "Nah. I was probably more wristy and stylish but Viv was something else."