Qantas Tour of South Africa

Rookie welcomed with new nickname

Jhye Richardson is settling into the Aussie Test squad with the help of star-studded Fast Bowlers' Union

Sam Ferris, in Johannesburg

21 February 2018, 03:31 AM

Rookie Richardson makes an impression in Jo'Burg

Uncapped quick Jhye Richardson is the latest Australia rookie to be handed a new nickname after nestling under the wing of a senior paceman in the early stages of his international career. 

Legendary nicknames like 'Punter', 'Pidgeon' and 'Pup' will forever be linked to greats Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath and Michael Clarke respectively, and last summer it was extroverted Queensland opener Matthew Renshaw who was dubbed 'Turtle' for how he went into his shell in the presence of Australia's leadership duo of Steve Smith and David Warner.

Now it's Richardson's turn to be slapped with a sobriquet. The 21-year-old has been dubbed 'Shadow' after living in the pocket of Test spearhead Mitchell Starc, stretching back to the Gillette ODI Series when he first played with the left-armer. 

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"I'm straight in his (Starc's) pocket apparently," Richardson told reporters on Tuesday. 

"There's a bit of a joke going around and I've got the nickname 'Shadow' because apparently I just keep following him around. 

"He's been good, like all the fast bowlers, they've been very welcoming and very accommodating of me."

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The Fast Bowlers' Union, headed by Starc, has passed on more sage advice, according to the youngster.

"How not to go around the boys, not to be annoying, that sort of thing," revealed Richardson. 

"They give a bit of banter to me but that's because they like me, apparently. It's all well and fun."

While Richardson has copped some stick from his new teammates, he's impressed with the ball in the two net sessions Australia have held at the Wanderers ahead of Thursday's three-day tour match against a South Africa Invitational XI in neighbouring Benoni.

The whippy right-armer, who has played two T20s and a one-day international for his country, has bowled with good pace to the squad's top order and says he's "really happy" with how he's going as he adjusts to the high altitude of Johannesburg that sits 1753 metres above sea level.

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But the biggest insight he's had on tour to date, besides how to not pester the big quicks, has come from the batsmen he's bowling to at practice.

"To be honest feedback from the batter in nets sessions is vital," he said. 

"They're the ones playing one the wickets and they give you the best feedback if they feel comfortable, uncomfortable with the line and length that you're bowling. 

"Whilst it's good getting feedback from the other bowlers and learning a lot from them, getting feedback from the batters is just as important because they're the ones trying to face the ball on that wicket."

And Richardson said there has been no better mentor than skipper Smith, the batsman Richardson says he's found most difficult to bowl to so far on tour.

"He's given me tips on things to try to him," he said. "He's been very good getting feedback from the batters and he's one especially that I can ask the questions because he's the world's No.1 batsman at the moment.

"He's definitely one I can take tips from."

Qantas tour of South Africa

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.

Warm-up match v SA Invitational XI, Sahara Park, Benoni, Feb 22-24

First Test Kingsmead, Durban, March 1-5

Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13

Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26

Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3