It's the turn of the South Australian and Australian quick, Kane Richardson, to front up to the online media conference arranged by Cricket Australia. Richardson spoke on the upcoming T20 World Cup, what happens if that doesn't happen, his red-ball future, on the proposed BBL innovations and more. Here's the full interview.
On the fate of the T20 World Cup
It's always nice to know what's going to happen in the near future, but taking as much time as we can to make a decision about something like this is important. So I think it's the right move. Australia and New Zealand have been really good in terms of flattening the curve. So there is some positivity that there's going to be some cricket this summer with some kind of normality around it. The best decision is to take your time with this and make sure we make the right decision. It makes no difference to myself in terms of what I'll be doing, training, and preparing. I'll be getting ready for the summer as normal. So no rush to make a decision.
And what about in terms of the schedule leading up to it? There are enough matches there for everyone to get ready, what sort of to the minimum do you think for yourself in the squad?
It all depends on what the state programs can put together. If there's some domestic cricket we can play before that, that'll be a bonus. Whatever decision is made we'll roll with it. We haven't got much choice. As we've heard said so many times, it's unprecedented, but if it means we're under-prepared, then so be it. But I think we will be fine.
If the World Cup doesn't happen some sort of IPL tournament might slot in there. And how comfortable would you be if you were in a position of having to, say, pick and choose between taking an IPL deal and disrupting the start of your domestic summer?
I think that's the point that's being spoken about at the moment. Without knowing that that's gonna be a clash. So if the World Cup is postponed and the IPL can fit in that space, that's going to be a discussion that needs to be had. From my point of view, what's going to be the best competition to play in? It's going to be the IPL behind the World Cup. If it clashes with the start of the domestic summer then that’s up for debate and above us players on what decision will be made. We'll just wait and see on the World Cup. And then if that does get postponed and then the IPL can take that spot, then I reckon a lot of guys will be keen to play. I've read a lot of commentary around a lot of past players saying that maybe it's better if we stay back here and play in Australia. So there's probably no wrong answer as long as we're playing cricket, everyone is pretty keen to do that right now. So we'll just see what happens.
Your focus this season and in the last few seasons has been white-ball cricket. Just where do you see yourself sat in a sort of white ball first-class career? Is that still a format you're going to keep playing in the future?
I'm definitely keen to play it. It helps, especially T20 cricket, and a lot of guys who've retired from first-class cricket, especially bowlers who found it hard to keep continuing to play Twenty20 cricket because you're not getting that work into your body. But I'm just keen to play as much cricket as I can. And I think part of that I haven't played as much. South Australia have some good first-class bowlers. So there's been competition there. And when I played, I haven't done as well as what I would have liked. So there's definitely motivation in myself to play as much first-class cricket as I can. But I think looking forward to probably the next six to 12 months. I think, white-ball cricket is going to be the main priority with, what could be still two World Cups coming up. So that's always going to be the priority. But, you know, wherever I can play first-class cricket, I'll try and play as much as I can.
It's about the Australian T20 team. How was coming together before we all went into lockdown? You managed to play nine games in a row over the whole season. Did it feel that it was the best sort of balanced and sort of the first time the Australian T20 team had quite worked out the style of cricket they wanted to play consistently?
I definitely felt that way. I mean, we've had patches, I think, back two years ago when we put together a team, when the Test team was in South Africa, we still put together a team that felt like a T20 specialist team. And we went to a decent run there and won a tri-series. So there's been moments where I think we've been close, but I think at the moment it feels like everyone is really clear on what their role in the team is. And in Twenty20 cricket, that's really massive because the more simple you can make the game the better. So it feels like we're rolling pretty well before it feels like a long time ago that we played our last game. But a lot of blokes in that team have confidence in their role in the team. And the results in the last year have probably shown that. This disruption has come not at an ideal time for our team but moving forward, everyone still knows and remembers what their role in the team will be. Hopefully when we come together next time, we'll just continue on that progress we've made.
About T20 bowling - Do you think you're at a stage of the career now where you are more confident than before? And just in terms of your variation, just the fact that you're playing well consistently for the country.
You feel more comfortable and confident, the more you play and the more success you can have. I'm probably at an age now where I understand my game and understand my body. When I was in my early 20s, I was trying to bowl 145 and not want to bowl a slower ball because I thought that was a weaker option. You want to be the firebrand who swings them around and bowls really fast. But I think I've learned in the last couple of years that there's a role in most T20 teams where you can be adaptable in terms of your variations, what's going to be successful on any certain day, on any certain surface. It's just something I've got better at and I've learned a couple of different slower balls from a couple of different guys over the years. So I'll put it down to that. I still got a lot of improvement in myself and I hope I can keep getting better.
There's so much talk about inclusivity around the world right now, and you've been part of so many dressing rooms. Do you think players are getting a better understanding of people just making different choices?
It's a pretty multicultural game, the IPL has definitely opened a lot of doors, you just learn about so many different people and cultures. Guys you'd just play against twenty years ago now you call team-mates for a couple of months a year. You learn about everyone's life stories, that can only be a good thing, and it's probably brought a lot of people together. That's the beauty of sport in general, you just learn how different races and walks of life go about it.
In the IPL, do you get to understand a lot more about these different cultures, is there time to do that?
There's so much downtime in the IPL, even sitting next to someone on a plane. Even in the Australian team, you can learn a lot about someone by sitting next to them on a couple of hours of plane flight. It's up to an individual whether they want to get to know someone and put that time into him. But if you're willing and able to talk and most importantly, listen, then you can learn a lot about different people.
There's been a bit of chat about the BBL innovations for this season coming. Just wondering your take on things like introducing bonus points, time-out substitutions, that sort of thing, how it might change the game?
I had a quick read this morning and I saw a few different points had been mentioned. Bonus points that would be great, I think it would make the ladder more interesting towards the backend of the tournament. If it has ramifications on where teams finish. I think I saw free-hits if you bowl a wide, which I'm obviously not that keen on because we get that wrong occasionally so don't think we should be punished that harshly. But understand that there's a discussion around how we can make the BBL more attractive for people to watch and come to the game. So I think it's a good conversation to have to keep trying to make BBL the best product we can. I'd be keen to say what I can come up with is as long as it's something that's not just punishing the bowlers.
What needs to change for the Renegades in season 10?
Make more runs. Make sure the opposition don't score at 10 an over. It was just one of those years (in BBL 09), we lost a couple that were close and from then on we were chasing our first win and then get sucked into that mindset of 'is it happening again?' and then all of a sudden, we were 0-8. The pieces are there, there's a lot of quality players in that team, obviously there's an unknown around overseas players but I'm sure the recruiters will put together a decent list again. I think it's just guys having confidence, we didn't really have that last year. As long as we can start that tournament well, and not be in the position we were last year, we should be around the mark.
Who among the current players inspire you to learn from in the T20 game?
I like watching guys, I like watching Bumrah, I liked watching Jofra Archer when he played at Hobart. They are some of my favorite bowlers. Then you have got guys known for their slower balls, AJ Tye, Ben Laughlin, Dwayne Bravo - those kind of guys. I just try and watch and learn, there's so many guys who can do stuff that I can't do. Dwayne Bravo the way he bowls his slower ball, I don't think I could do that. The knuckle ball is a hard ball to nail as well. If there's something you can pick up and take from that then try and do it and seeing them do well.
More on the BBL innovations
When people turn on the TV at night or come to the ground, they want to see high-scoring games, full of skill, albeit knowing as a bowler that means better pitches, faster outfields, even smaller boundaries. I think we are all used to it, (it’s) been that way for a while now. I think with all the innovations, it's a good discussion to have but in the end, the best selling point will be the standard of cricket. The quality of pitches is something that's maybe lacked in the last couple of years and they started to get that right last year. As long as the skill and the runs are there then think everyone will be happy.
You had the COVID test done in March, how willing would you be to do it again to get back on the park?
It wasn't pleasant (but) if that's the world we're in, to take the field and do our jobs we have to get a swab stuck down our nose or throat, I think everyone will sign up for that. It's a pretty small price to pay to go to work and do your job. It only takes 10 seconds and as unpleasant as it is, I think everyone would be willing and able to do that to make sure we play.
How keen are you to see the retro kits come back?
I have still got them in the garage. I think I did a gym session out in the back with the shirt and hat on. Feel like I have worn it once. Great idea and great innovation, anytime you can put on a kit like that, people are pretty keen to watch and buy it. That was pretty good from CA - it wasn't my first choice, I wanted the blue down the sides but yeah it looked great and hopefully more retro uniforms to come.