One of South Africa's most talented batsmen, Richards fears for the future of modern-day cricket with an unfair domination of bat over ball.

"All I want is a 50-50 contest, which it is not now," Richards, 69, was quoted as saying on Cricket Australia website.

"If it continues the way it is, kids will only want to bat. There will be no bowlers and the game will decline," he added.

Richards, who was able to play only four Test matches – all against Australia – before South Africa's exclusion from the international scene in 1970, averaged over 70. He said that allowing ball-tampering, placing restrictions on bat making and a relaxing rules regarding leg-side bowling are just some of the measures that could be introduced to even up the contest.

"Reverse swing is an art. Let the bowlers rub the ball in the dirt if they want because not all bowlers can produce reverse swing," Richards said.

"Maybe in one-day cricket you could let the better bowlers bowl 25 of the 50 overs, but only two bowlers are nominated before the start to bowl those overs.

"The pressing of cricket bats also has to be controlled and the thickness in their edges. Maybe there can also be a designated sweet spot area for bats, ours used to be about the size of a 50 cent piece but now they are much bigger.

"You could also relax cricket's leg-side rules a bit. These are just a few of my ideas, because batsmen have it too easy these days," he added.

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