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'Cricket was in the way of a good time' - Richardson

Jarrod Kimber

April 24, 2012

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Alan Richardson has become the grand old pro of county cricket after being honoured as one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year. But it was not always like this. He began life as a teenager at Derbyshire and has admitted: "Cricket was almost in the way of me having a good time."

Richardson took 73 wickets for Worcestershire last season and remarkably, at 36, it was the first full season he had ever played. Few bowlers in the history of county cricket can ever have matured so late.

He was signed to Derbyshire in 1994 and by the end of the 1995 season he was already out of county cricket. "I was a 19-year-old kid," he said. "I had no idea what was expected of me. It was like I was at uni." It was four years before he played county cricket again.

Things have changed now, and Richardson believes he is in the best shape of his entire career. "I have to warm up to warm up, that is the only issue I have," he said.

Richardson, who deferred university to chase his dream of playing cricket, is not sure what job he may do next, but while he was still playing at Middlesex he was offered a coaching position. With 10 wickets against Surrey last week, he can enjoy the game for a little while yet, saying: "The physio thinks he can get another year, maybe two years out of me."

Some players might be bitter about not playing for England, but not Richardson. "I think I should be really proud at playing over 140 first-class games, I didn't think I'd get double figures at one stage," he said. "And it's better than being a landscape gardener."

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Posted by shillingsworth on (April 25, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

@maximum6 - Linley played in Division 2 last year, as did David Masters of Essex, who had an even better season. Both may have been candidates but, as Richardson played in Division 1, they presumably took the view that his was the greater achievement.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (April 24, 2012, 22:45 GMT)

@trickstar- I think Tim Linley took 73 wickets last season alone, as someone with comparable 2011 stats to R'son. I am not saying he should have been a Wisden CoY for a moment. As for ignorance or otherwise it is all relative and I would say my opinions have equal validity to yours. You may or may not choose to agree but I do think you do not need to say I do not have a clue. Opinion over who should or should npt get picked for England is always open to debate and given competition in the last ten years for 3 bowling spots there are always going to be losers. It's likely though that apart from Pattinson most of the selections were based on fairly sound judgement. Usually honest county pro's do not do so well in Tests and may last 1 or two Tests only. I would suggest that Richardson would be one of these if he had been picked. Maybe Chappell might have played might have made it to 5 tests. Adams is a Kiwi, and Hogg would probably go the way of Kabir.

Posted by   on (April 24, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

@Maximum6 - The clue is in the title "Cricketer OF THE YEAR" - It applies to performances in 2011 alone. And 73 wickets in one year is a lot. Linley was probably in the running with the same number of wickets, so yes - they could just have easily done that - and that diminishes Richardsons achievements how exactly? Not sure what your point is. I would have considered several others as well, but see nothing wrong with giving it to Richardson, I can see some other very good causes out there, but none that put AR in the shade - so it's a close one - but a fair call. I've got no issues with that.

Posted by Trickstar on (April 24, 2012, 19:11 GMT)

@maximum6 If you think he's just had one good year at 36, I'd suggest to you, you haven't got a clue what you're talking about and can't have followed County cricket much past reading sites like this. He should have been in and around England selection years ago or at least have been around the squad. How many bowlers are there in England who average 27 after so many years on he scene and not had a chance. He along with Chapple at Lancs have been very unlucky not to get picked especially considering some of the plodders we've had over the years. At the end of the day he had a tremendous year and took 73 wickets at 24 in the first div, he along with Siddy, Hogg, Chapple and Adams were the top bowlers around. By the way Tim Linley's 30 and had played 30 odd first class games

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (April 24, 2012, 18:50 GMT)

With respect to Richardson's fans, he did say that that was his first full season of first class cricket. I just call it as i see it. Plenty of bowlers have taken more wickets in far less time and scored a few runs as well. Anyway it is all a matter of opinion. I just would not have singled him out for that award. Maybe Praveen Kumar might have been a better choice.

Posted by   on (April 24, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

Maximum6-what are you superman in your spare time? He has taken 460 wickets and such a long career...give the guy his dues...hats of to you Mr.Alan Richardson...may you get the two years you want..I think you have a great career as a coach ahead of you...regards

Posted by Waikato_FC on (April 24, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

That's a bit harsh maximum6 - Richo pretty much outbowled everyone on the circuit last year. He took a huge amount of 1st Division wickets at a great average, and also kept things tight. Surely the notion of a 'cricketer of the year' is one who excels and outperforms the rest in any given year, didn't he do exactly that? I think it's a great reward for one of those who makes the county game great - he's not a 'name' or a 'face', he just gets the job done. And last year (and this year so far!) he's got the job done better than most.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (April 24, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

This guy is a regular journeyman seamer who happens to have had one good year at 36. Cricketer of the year material? It begs a number of questions. How many other good county players over the years with far better records have not been so honoured. It just seems like over sentimentality. They could almost as easily given it to Tim Linley,a mere strapling of 28. I can think of plenty of others equally worthy of the award, not just this year either.

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