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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New South Wales 5 for 262 (Henriques 116) lead Queensland 240 by 22 runs
Moises Henriques struck a dominant century as New South Wales built a first innings lead against Queensland at the SCG.
Henriques’ 116 off 158 balls, his second Sheffield Shield hundred of the season during which he passed 5000 first-class runs, belied conditions where most other batsmen have struggled to score at much of a tempo. He dominated a third-wicket stand of 133, contributing 97 of the runs, with Daniel Solway who was run out in a mix-up over a second.
When Matthew Gilkes and Henriques both fell with the score on 194, Queensland had a chance to get back into the match but captain Peter Nevill and Sean Abbott put on an unbroken 68 to take New South Wales ahead by stumps.
Queensland had made the early running on the second day when tight new-ball bowl kept New South Wales scoring at one run an over during the first hour. Daniel Hughes was given caught behind when Jimmy Peirson claimed a very sharp, low catch and Nick Larkin flashed an edge to the keeper to leave the home side 2 for 15 before Henriques took charge.
Heather Knight seeks new era as England hope to move on from Ashes drubbing
England captain Heather Knight has heralded her side’s upcoming series in Malaysia against Pakistan as the start of “a new era”, and an opportunity to move on from this summer’s Ashes thrashing.
After being roundly beaten by a 12-4 margin against Australia, England parted company with head coach Mark Robinson, who had taken charge back in 2015.
Lisa Keightley, the former Perth Scorchers coach, has taken over, but will not start her new role officially until January, leaving only a matter of weeks to stamp her mark on the side before the T20 World Cup in Australia in February.
Ali Maiden, who served as Robinson’s assistant and will continue in the same job under Keightley, will coach the team in Malaysia, though Keightley is set to join up with the tour for the T20I leg.
“We’ve made a few changes with Robbo [Robinson] not being head coach [any] more,” Knight told the BBC’s Test Match Special, “and we’ve put a lot of hard work in as a group, and made a few changes from a team point of view as well.
“We’re really excited to get out and see if those changes have come to fruition.
“Lisa’s going to come towards the end of the tour and doesn’t take over officially until January. We’re all really excited to start a new era as a team and move on from what was a tough period for us in the Ashes.”
England have made several personnel changes since the summer, signalling a changing of the guard. Experienced allrounders Georgia Elwiss and Laura Marsh have dropped out of the squad, while uncapped legspinner Sarah Glenn, 24-year-old seamer Freya Davies, and 22-year-old spinner Kirstie Gordon come into the squad.
“We’ve picked quite a young squad actually,” said Knight. “We picked the squad with half an eye on the World Cup, which comes around in Februrary, and it’s a massive chance for these girls to impress.
“Some of them have had a little taste of international cricket, some of them have had no taste of international cricket [at all]. So it’s a chance for them to show what they’ve done in tournaments like the KSL and see if they can transfer it into international cricket.
“It is an exciting period – it’s also a time of a little bit of uncertainty with Lisa not starting yet, so it’s up to us as players to make sure we’re leading ourselves and being really clear on how we go about things and how we do things as individuals and as a team for the new coach to come in. It’s a really exciting time for people to reinvent themselves if they want to as well.”
England are clear favourites for both the ODI and T20I series, not least with Pakistan’s talismanic Sana Mir missing the series to “plan and reset my future objectives and targets”. The first ODI is on Monday, December 9 at Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpar.
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