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How Kane Richardson learned to stop worrying and love the game

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Kane Richardson would have challenged Justin Langer if the Australia coach had told him to his face that he didn’t seem to have the bottle to come back and play for Australia again. Before the start of the World Cup, Langer used Richardson as an example of how far the Australia team had come in a year.

Langer said he remembered a chat with Richardson after the tour of England last year where they lost each of the six internationals. This was after the only T20I following the 5-0 whitewash in the ODI series. Langer, used to winning a lot when he played for Australia and when he coached Perth Scorchers, wasn’t quite impressed with the team he had. Richardson had gone for 59 runs in his four overs in that game. On the next tour that Richardson went to – in Zimbabwe – he didn’t get a single game, which told him where he stood with Langer.

“I’m thinking about someone like Kane Richardson who I sat with after the T20 game last year and I never thought he’d play cricket for Australia again,” Langer said before the start of this World Cup. “I didn’t think he had the bottle and we talked about it but how he has come on and you see he is having a red hot dip here. Everything he does, whether it’s at training, he’s talked about it to the group, he doesn’t want to play scared cricket, he wants to be an Australian cricketer, he’s a great role model for our players to come from where we were 12 months ago, he’s standing tall and he’s having a go.”

Richardson had to wait nine months for his next appearance for Australia, and he still didn’t make it to the original World Cup squad. It was an injury to Jhye Richardson that got him in, and a green track in overcast Taunton that finally got him a World Cup match. He didn’t have great List A numbers in between – averaging 43.5 and conceding runs at 6.21 to the over – but it could be his T20 performances that got him back into the mix. He averaged 17.7 and conceded runs at 7.75 an over in the BBL, which is quite acceptable.

Most importantly, though, Richardson gave up worrying about selection and started believing in himself. “Since then – it will sound silly – I have just gone and stopped caring about selection,” Richardson said. “You just go back and do your best. And I think that’s what happened in the end. I took some wickets. All of a sudden, a few blokes fall down and you are the next one in. Yeah I just kind of gave up all – kind of – thought about it and just played cricket.”

Langer didn’t actually let Richardson know what he thought of him. “He didn’t say it that time,” Richardson said. “I would have been pretty upset. Not so much upset, but I would have challenged him, I reckon. Any time some questions your bottle – as he said – I am pretty strong in my competitiveness. Just good to read and know that he thought that and now he thinks … it is quite positive. At the time I was pretty disappointed in my performance, and I knew something had to change.”

Langer has seen a completely transformed Richardson on this trip. “It was just about believing in himself,” Langer said. “He is a really talented athlete. He has great skills. He is a beautiful athlete. He can field well, catch well, but when you are just holding back a little bit – maybe I won’t go for that because I don’t want to mess it up – now he is having a dip and a red-hot crack at it.”

Richardson himself never believed he was done playing for Australia, but he wouldn’t have beaten himself up had he not. “I kind of stopped caring about it,” Richardson said. “There is no point worrying about it. I just thought well if I do never end up playing again, then so be it. I will do everything I can to play but it is what it is. All I can do is do my best, and that’s it.”



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Broken NZ will understand ‘magnificent’ final over time – McCullum

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Brendon McCullum knows what it is to lose a World Cup final. In 2015, under McCullum’s captaincy, New Zealand enjoyed a bumper run to the final, only to lose to Australia by seven wickets at the MCG. Four years later, New Zealand reached another World Cup final, this time at Lord’s, and tied the game. The manic Super Over, the first in World Cups, ended in a tie as well, and England eventually won the title on boundary count.

McCullum’s side had turned a rugby-mad country into a cricket-loving nation in 2015. Williamson’s men have created similar impact now, and McCullum believes they will move on from the Lord’s heartbreak.

“That’s the thing and it’s going to be so difficult for those guys,” McCullum told stuff.co.nz. “I was lucky enough to have a beer with them in the changing room and they were pretty broken, that’s for sure.

“They were also really proud of what they did and how well they played. Over the coming months and years, whilst it’s still raw now, they’ll understand just how magnificent that spectacle was. And for it to happen on the biggest of stages, to have played the hand that they played in that match is absolutely amazing.”

McCullum looked back on the MCG final in 2015 and called it “a missed opportunity”, but said he was pleased with the way how the team dealt with the result then and even now.

“Yes, it would’ve been lovely to have been a World Cup champion, but I’ve always said the game doesn’t define you but it’s the person and character you are,” McCullum said. “I was so pleased with how our team handled that loss, also the success throughout that tournament. It’s a bit different [but] I thought they’ve handled themselves magnificently in the aftermath of that result [at Lord’s].”

A bizarre play in the last over of England’s chase turned the final decisively. When Ben Stokes dived at the striker’s end to complete a second run, he inadvertently deflected a throw from outfielder Martin Guptill to the third-man boundary. England were awarded six runs, and there were questions raised on the call made by the umpires at the time. McCullum, though, chose not to dwell on that play which had worked against New Zealand.

“I guess if you look at the rules, it may not have been the right call but it’s just luck, that’s how it works,” he said. “There’s nothing to say that if Ben Stokes was facing the last ball and he needed four off that rather than two, he wouldn’t have struck that low full-toss out of the ground.

“I just don’t think you can focus on those things. It’s bitterly disappointing they didn’t work out for us but we had our elements of luck throughout that World Cup too, which gave us a chance. Unfortunately on the day it didn’t fall our way. I certainly don’t blame anyone.”



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Recent Match Report – West Indies A vs India A 4th unofficial ODI 2019

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West Indies A 298 for 9 (Chase 84, Thomas 70, Khaleel 4-67, Avesh 3-62) beat India A (Axar 81*, Washington 45, Powell 2-47) by five runs

After losing the first three games and conceding the series to India A, West Indies A pulled one back, overcoming a late assault from Axar Patel to edge the visitors in the fourth one-dayer in Coolidge.

India A were 160 for 6 in pursuit of 299, when Axar joined fellow fingerspin-bowling allrounder Washington Sundar. After putting on a 60-run partnership with Washington, Axar marshalled the tail, pushing his case for selection in India’s senior side. However, Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini fell in a space of three balls towards the close as West Indies snuck in a five-run victory. Axar remained unbeaten on 81 off 63 balls, including eight fours and a six.

It was Roston Chase who had made the highest score of the game, 84 off 100 balls, setting the platform for West Indies’ tall total after they had been asked to bat. Wicketkeeper-batsman Devon Thomas and No.5 Jonathan Carter supported him with half-centuries of their own. Sunil Ambris, who was a late addition to West Indies’ World Cup squad, got another start, but fell four short of a fifty. At 254 for 3, West Indies were eyeing a taller total, but they lost 6 for 44 to be restricted to 298 for 9. Left-arm quick Khaleel continued his fine form, returning 4 for 67 while Avesh Khan took 3 for 62.

India A then lost their openers Anmolpreet Singh and Ruturaj Gaikwad within seven overs in the chase, and the slide seeped into the middle order as well. Left-arm spinner Khary Pierre and offspinner Chase claimed combined figures of 10-0-83-2 to shackle India A’s middle order. Axar and Washington then launched a late fightback with the lower order, but they fell just short. Seam-bowling allrounders Keemo Paul and Rovman Powell claimed two wickets each for the hosts.

The fifth and final one-dayer will be played at the same venue on July 21.



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Steven Smith, Matthew Wade to face Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc in pre-Ashes trial match

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Former captain Steven Smith and Ashes tour aspirant Matthew Wade will be pitted against Australia’s leading bowlers including Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in the internal trial at Southampton that will determine the final shape of the touring party.

Teams coached by Brad Haddin and Graeme Hick were named on Friday evening, with Usman Khawaja the only name missing out of the 25-man pre-Ashes squad as he continues his recovery from a hamstring strain suffered during the World Cup.

Travis Head will lead the Haddin XII, which features Starc, Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle and David Warner. Test captain Tim Paine will meanwhile have Smith, Wade, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson and Cameron Bancroft, another batsman fighting for one of the last remaining spots in the tour proper.

Cummins, who in addition to Head served as Paine’s deputy in the latter part of the Australian summer, said the duel with Smith would help get his competitive juices flowing ahead of the Ashes.

“I think it’ll definitely get the adrenaline up like in a Test match,” Cummins said. “It doesn’t happen too often – you’ll see our egos be put to the test, we’ll be going at each other I think. Maybe [played Smith before] in a T20, but not that I can remember.

“I think personally from my point of view it’s about trying to get myself 100 percent ready for a Test match. I haven’t played a first-class game in a few months so it’s going to be trying to bowl long spells, get the ball swinging, try and think of ways to get batsmen out. These guys are really good players just like the English Test side. There’s no really obvious flaw so you’ve got to try to work a batsman out. It’s going to be a good hit-out, everyone is in good form.”

The concept has arisen out of long-held dissatisfaction with the level of preparation provided by domestic and invitational teams fielded by host nations in recent years, whether it be Kent and Essex in 2015 in England, or the teams presented in Sri Lanka the following year. Pat Howard, the former Cricket Australia executive in charge of team performance, inked the fixture into Ashes plans well before he was shown the door in the wake of a scathing culture review last year.

“I think it’s been in the planning for a couple of years, I think the lessons learned from the last couple of series was exactly that,” Cummins said. “We want a really good hit-out in conditions we can control, people jostling for spots.

“The best thing is guys who are fighting for spots are in good form, so it’s not a pre-season warm-up game that might meander or you kind of look after people’s injuries in this game, it’s going to be flat out and good fun I think, especially coming off a good game last week against the Lions, this is going to be another tune-up game that’s going to get us right and ready.”

Perhaps the only area of concern for the fixture is the danger of injury as players on both sides stretch themselves. Shaun Marsh was unable to be considered due to a broken arm sustained in a competitive net session prior to the final World Cup round robin game against South Africa in Manchester.

Haddin XII: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Kurtis Patterson, Travis Head (capt), Marnus Labuschagne, Will Pucovski, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland

Hick XII: Joe Burns, Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (capt), Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Chris Tremain, Nathan Lyon



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