Jhye Richardson (R) dismisses Alex Hales on his ODI debut.
Jhye Richardson (R) dismisses Alex Hales on his ODI debut.

‘Beat me down, I’ll prove you wrong’: Bolter’s pledge

CRICKET: Australia's next-cab-off-the-rank tearaway quick isn't really sure quite how his wiry frame is able to generate the express speeds which have seen him rewarded with a shock Test call-up.

But he knows that with a chip on his shoulder, anything is possible.

Standing at 178cms, young West Australian Jhye Richardson isn't your tailor-made Australian fast bowler. It's why he's been told by more than enough coaches that he didn't have the physical tools to get to the next level.

He's nearly 20cm shorter than Test spearhead Mitchell Starc (197cm), and the likes of Josh Hazlewood (196cm) and Pat Cummins (192cm) both tower over him - as would the great Glenn McGrath (196cm).

And yet, after just five first-class matches, he's earned a stunning call-up for the four-Test tour of South Africa.

Why? Because the kid bowls straight fire.

Jhye Richardson sends down a ball for the Perth Scorchers.
Jhye Richardson sends down a ball for the Perth Scorchers.

Those in the know in Western Australia have known for some time that Richardson was destined for greater things -  it's why Test great Mitchell Johnson dedicated a column to the then 19-year-old for Foxsports.com.au after his first-class debut.

But, still, he caught many by surprise with his zip and speeds last Friday during his international debut, when he picked up two wickets in the one-day loss to England at the Gabba.

Growing up Richardson would play in the backyard with his brother, who insisted on bowling spin.

As variety is the spice of life, Richardson chose a path of speed instead - despite encountering the occasional roadblock as coaches would try to convince him his body wasn't made for fast bowling.

"Actually, (I was told that) quite a lot," Richardson said after being announced in Australia's 15-man squad on Monday.

"I'm only 70 odd kilos and 178cm tall so I'm not the biggest unit around but it's always something in your head you always want to prove people wrong.

"That's been my attitude from the start, if someone is going to beat me down, why not prove them wrong?"

Jhye Richardson is one of the brightest fast-bowling prospects in the land.
Jhye Richardson is one of the brightest fast-bowling prospects in the land.

And, truth be told, Richardson himself doesn't even really know how a player with his frame is able to generate such electric speeds.

"Probably every interview I get someone asks me that question and I don't really know what to tell them," he explained.

"I think just a combination of having the right rhythm and having the right body parts going in the right direction.

"Having a front leg that's locked, being able to get my weight over my front leg is probably the main one that I think contributes to me being able to bowl fast.

"I think you see a lot of the guys who aren't as quick don't have a locked front leg."

Richardson's name was the biggest surprise in the Australian squad, notably because it came instead of prolific Sheffield Shield wickettaker Chadd Sayers.

Sayers, too, isn't blessed with long limbs and a towering frame - but he's found a way to take wickets. 246 of them, to be precise, at 23.56 in first class cricket.

But he doesn't fit the mould of what Australia craves at Test level: express pace.

Six years ago, another young Aussie paceman - Pat Cummins - with speed to burn was given a chance in South Africa and returned a man-of-the-match performance.
Richardson remembers Cummins' debut, where he took second-innings figures of 6-79, and will travel to the Rainbow nation with an open mind as a result.

"I remember a little bit about it and having watched that reiterates the mindset you have and saying if he can do it at that same young age, 'why can't I do it?'," Richardson said.

"There's going to be a lot of people that put me down for not having the experience at this sort of level but if I can go in being as confident as I am right now I think I'll be able to get the job done."


Six-hour drag show this weekend

Six-hour drag show this weekend

Expect a lip sync, a fashion show and hilarious stand up comedy

Go you 'yarning' bunch of awesome sisters

Go you 'yarning' bunch of awesome sisters

Go you 'yarning' mob of awesome sisters

Happy women Cairns-bound for arts festival

Happy women Cairns-bound for arts festival

Indigenous group raise funds to attend festival of art in Queensland

Local Partners