New paceman not short on talent

BIG AMBITION: Jhye Richardson hopes to make his ODI debut on Sunday.
BIG AMBITION: Jhye Richardson hopes to make his ODI debut on Sunday. Graham Denholm

CRICKET: Fast twitch fibres. That's how 178cm-tall Jhye Richardson explains his ability to hurl the white Kookaburra ball at speeds just short of 150km/h.

Standing next to the rest of the Australian fast bowling attack - Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlweood and Pat Cummins - the 21-year-old West Australian just comes up to their shoulders.

But that lack of height never curtailed Richardson's desire to bowl fast, as it didn't South African great Dale Steyn, who has 419 Test wickets despite being only 179cm himself.

And now Richardson is on the verge of taking his "different” fast bowling frame on to the MCG for Australia in Sunday's one-day series opener against England. "When I was younger there was a lot of talk about how tall I was going to be but I didn't really think about it too much,” Richardson said this week. "Someone like Dale Steyn has proven you don't need to be tall and a solid bloke to run in and bowl fast. It doesn't mean you will be better or worse, it just means you will be a bit different.”

"Being 178cm, and 73 or 74kg, there is not much to work with but the mechanics of bowling, having a locked front leg, and fast twitch fibres helped me to be quite whippy.

Richardson played twice for the Australian Twenty20 team last February but is quite new to the first-class scene, with just five Sheffield Shield games under his belt.

He hadn't even had a proper introduction to Aussie captain Steve Smith before joining the one-day squad, although the skipper certainly knows who Richardson is. During a Sheffield Shield clash in November, the young tearaway peppered Smith with a few "bumpers”, his way of saying hello.

"The plan was to try and bowl a few bumpers at him so I started charging in, as you do as a fast bowler,” Richardson said. "You want to try and get up someone. I ramped it up a little bit. I like bowling really fast.”

The absence of Hazlewood from Sunday's MCG encounter could open the door for Richardson or fellow West Australian bowler Andrew Tye to make a one-day debut.

Richardson has been picked for his pace, along with his success for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash, but knows a one-day international is a whole new ball game.

Russell Gould

Topics:  australia big bash cricket fast bowling jhye richardson josh hazlewood mitchell starc odi series pat cummins

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