Australia’s Jhye Richardson, who ended BBL 2020/21 as the highest wicket-taker, confirmed that he has made himself available for IPL 2021 but insisted that ultimately he wants to rekindle red-ball aspirations. Richardson is set to spearhead the Aussie attack in the forthcoming T20Is vs New Zealand.
After catapulting to fame in 2019 by dismissing Virat Kohli thrice in three games, Jhye Richardson spent no less than 18 months in the sidelines owing to a dodgy shoulder, but the youngster marked his ‘proper’ return to cricket in style. With 29 wickets in 17 innings, Richardson finished as the highest wicket-taker of the 2020/21 Big Bash League and was duly rewarded for the same by being named in Australia’s T20I tour of New Zealand.
Many, however, including former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting, believed that the 24-year-old should be rocketed straight back into the Test side. Richardson made his Test debut in 2019 versus Sri Lanka and impressed, picking 6 wickets at an average of 20.50, but has since not been able to find his way back into the side owing to fitness.
Ahead of the five T20Is versus New Zealand, Richardson admitted that ultimately, fitness pertaining, he would love to get back to playing long-form cricket, but confirmed that, for now, he has made himself available for the IPL. The 2021 edition of the IPL is set to clash with the Sheffield Shield season.
“I have put my hand up for the IPL, but I have confidence in myself to be able to play red-ball cricket,” Richardson told ESPN Cricinfo.
“I think a really good test of that was our back-to-back games, albeit only four overs a game, but I think from a back-to-back perspective trying to get up and go again and test how my shoulder was, it was completely fine. Test cricket is always the dream, that would always be the ideal, and I’d love to get back and play Shield cricket for WA as well, that would be really exciting.”
It was not long ago that Richardson, alongside Pat Cummins, was spearheading Australia’s attack in ODI cricket and was in line to play both the 2019 World Cup and the Ashes, but a tragic dislocation of the shoulder put an abrupt halt to the youngster’s career. A setback in rehab meant that he also barely played cricket in 2020, and it is only now, two years post the shoulder dislocation, that he is finding his way back into the game.
Richardson admitted that the spell on the sidelines was tough, but insisted that, for him, it was all about enjoying his cricket. The 24-year-old also claimed that he has time and age on his side, despite already missing two years of cricket.
“It’s been a little bit tough, but the reassurance there is that I’ve been there once, there’s no reason for me to no try and get back there again. That’s the way I think about it anyway, the opportunity is still going to be there, I’m still only 24 years old so there’s plenty of time, it’s just about concentrating on what’s happening at that particular moment, whether I’m playing for WA or the Scorchers and then whatever happens after that, if I get picked for Australia that’s a bonus.”
“For me it comes back to enjoying playing cricket, because if I’m not enjoying it then I’m obviously doing something wrong. It’s been difficult dealing with such a big injury as well, but the positive now is I’m back on an Australian tour, which I’m really excited for and that positive out of all of it makes the whole road to recovery worth it. All of it’s been difficult. The initial injury that happened in the UAE probably didn’t hit me as soon as I thought it would.
“I was optimistic with the World Cup not too long after that and the discussion being trying to get up for that, things stayed relatively positive. Something that’s helped is there was always something around the corner to aim for, and then every time you get shut down from that or not make that [goal], it sort of chips away at you that little bit more. It’s been tough at times, but to be able to come back and play this BBL and have such a good tournament, to then get picked in the Australian team, it makes everything worth it. So super happy to be back.”
Australia’s five-T20I series will commence on February 22 at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.