Australia A series

Richardson groomed for history

Burden of a great beard sits lightly for bowler

Callum Kanoniuk

19 July 2014, 01:20 PM AEST

"With great facial hair comes great responsibility" – Anonymous

It's a saying that some believe to be as old as cricket itself.

Mitch knew it. Boonie lived by it. DK thrived on it. You better believe Fred 'The Demon' Spofforth didn't take it lightly.

But while Australian cricketers have a long and proud history of championing the moustache, the number of bearded players has been razor thin.

Notable exceptions are few and far between and not such Ashes-winning captain and Australia's very first wicketkeeper, Jack Blackham (below), has a beard of note been seen in a Baggy Green.

Greg Chappell, Allan Border and Ray Bright are others to have discarded the razor at points during their careers, but none stuck with the beard.

In 1980 Australian cricket's most famous beard may have been the clean shaven former NSW allrounder Graeme Beard who played three Tests on a tour to Pakistan.

Now, fast bowler Kane Richardson is bracing for the expectation that comes with owning the most substantial piece of facial hair in Australian cricket.

Arriving in Darwin, where he spent a large portion of his childhood, the West End Redback was hounded by the waiting NT media for a comment on the developing look.

"It's been six months on Monday just gone, so I've been counting down the days on the calendar," he said with a glint in his eye and a stroke of his well-hid chin.

Richardson said it all started as "just a bit of fun" but it seems he soon learnt the gravity of the situation, especially after Mitch Johnson and his mo stole the show during the previous Australian summer.

The 23-year-old's growth took the IPL by storm earlier this year, before sparking a war of words between KFC T20 Big Bash League clubs the Adelaide Strikers and the Melbourne Renegades upon his return to Australia.

Richardson has come a long way, both in beard and cricket, since his Australia U19 days (below, if you can recognise him) and is expected to play a key role for Australia A during the one-day quad series starting Sunday, and believes the beard may just be a secret weapon in the Darwin heat.

"It might keep the rays off the face up here, a bit of sun protection," he said.

One thing is for sure, it's time to #FearTheBeard.