Richardson plays the waiting game | cricket.com.au

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Richardson plays the waiting game

20 May 2017

Redbacks paceman one of a growing list of quicks waiting in the wings of the 'Big Four'

Kane Richardson is a fast bowler, is engaged, is a vegan, and is a lover of tattoos, beards and trailblazing fictional baseball pitchers.

But perhaps most importantly in today's cricket climate, Richardson is a realist.

And he knows that while the 'Big Four' Australian fast bowlers of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Patrick Cummins and James Pattinson are healthy and happy, it's going to be long wait for a quick outside that quartet to see some international game time.

But that doesn't mean Richardson or his fellow speedsters have given up hope.

If bouncers, yorkers, swing and seam movement are part of the DNA of a fast bowler, then so is the inevitably of injury.

Richardson's ridiculous direct hit

Fast bowling – while exciting, exhilarating and incredibly effective at dismissing batsmen – is actually quite bad for the human body; an exercise that puts a seismic amount of pressure on a bowler's back, knees, ankles and feet, not to mention shoulders, sides, wrists – you name it.

So while there might not be much hope of squeezing past the Big Four at this stage, Richardson knows he's got to be ready for when a chance comes via injury or injury prevention in the form of resting.

"You accept in the back of your mind that if they are fit they're going to be in the team," Richardson told cricket.com.au after he was named in Australia A's one-day squad to tour South Africa in July-August.

"It happened in juniors as well and we're used to that. Those four have always stood out because they've always taken wickets, been fit through the junior ranks and bowled 145kph-plus.

"It's about knowing if you're the next one in if they go down because they're all international stars, they've all performed on the international stage in every format.

"That's probably the best way to get in and get a game – you never know who's going to be rested or who's going to be injured.

"All you can do is try to be around the mark and be the next person on the list.

"The depth of pace bowling in this country when everyone is fit is pretty scary.

"If it doesn't come it doesn't come and you live with that but all you can do is try to be the next one.

"You kinda bide your time, wait for your turn and be ready to go if it happens."

Kane's two crackers ... but no hat-trick

Richardson, being the realist that he is, isn't focused on the health and wellbeing of Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins or Pattinson.

He's focused on preparing for the 'A' tour which starts with Redbacks pre-season next month before he jets off to South Africa to join 12 of his white-ball teammates.

Quick Single: Huge names in Australia A squads

Fitness will again be a high priority for the 26-year-old after a solid 2016-17 summer for South Australia in which he silenced certain doubters who questioned whether he could endure the rigours of a grinding first-class season.

In eight matches for the Sheffield Shield runners-up, Richardson captured 32 wickets at 26, but it wasn't a totally injury free season, with limited-overs matches lost throughout the season.

"That was the goal, probably set around this time last year, was to prove a few people wrong, more in South Australia than anything, that I could get through a lot of games in Shield cricket," Richardson said.

"I missed a couple of Matador Cup games through a hamstring injury and missed most of the Big Bash, which is unlike me to miss white-ball cricket.

"Usually I'm fit and firing for that and I miss the red-ball games.

"It's been a bit weird to flick the switch on that but it's been nice to go out there and play eight Shield games out of 11.

"But my opportunities came about from other blokes being injured – Daniel Worrall and Joe Mennie missed a few games with Australia.

"You've just got to be ready to go when your turn comes and I was able to do that last year."

Kane and able! Watch Richardson's bag of five

Richardson hasn't represented Australia since February last year, and he knows how significant 'A' tours have become when it comes time to pick national teams.

The 2015 Australia A tour of India heavily influenced the squad that competed in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February-March, and with a Test tour to South Africa scheduled for the back-end of next summer, every opportunity is a chance to push for higher honours.

"We saw last year, with Chris Tremain and Joe Mennie got picked (to play for Australia) out of Australia A performances," Richardson said.

"Peter Handscomb, Hilton Cartwright are other examples.

"If you perform well in Shield cricket you get rewarded with Australia A selection and so on from there.

"That's the way it should be and players know now if they perform well at those levels they'll go to the one above."

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About the Writer

 @samuelfez
@samuelfez

Sam Ferris is a Sydney-based journalist for cricket.com.au. He started in 2011 as a Big Bash League correspondent and continues to monitor the domestic scene and national sides closely.

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