Richardson looking to contribute with his fielding rather than bowling

Lynn McConnell

March 19, 2001

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Mark Richardson isn't putting his hand up as a potential left-arm spinner for New Zealand after his giant-killing effort in dismissing Pakistan batsman Yousuf Youhana for 203 on Sunday.

Richardson had bowled only one over in Test cricket before yesterday's spell at Jade Stadium but his caught and bowled dismissal of a fearsome Youhana drive produced the only wicket of the day.

His celebration of the wicket belied the normal taciturn approach of your typical New Zealand male whose outward display of delight is usually confined to the odd high five. Richardson took off in a low-flying circuit of the ground, much to the delight of the crowd.

"I probably over-killed in the celebrations but it was going back to my start," he said.

In the earliest days of his first-class career Richardson was a potential left-arm spinner and it had been his dream to get a Test wicket as a left-arm spinner.

Since those days of dreams, Richardson's cricket path has taken some different tracks.

He lost the ability to bowl left-arm spin and changed to medium-pace bowling. Then he saw a spot as an opening batsman and went for it.

The rest is history.

He has now scored 604 runs in eight Tests and has scored six 50s, and has a Test average of 50.30.

But he still doesn't have the confidence to consider a return to left-arm spin.

"I was pretty pleased that some of the balls I bowled were genuine left-arm spin," he said.

Richardson, like most of the New Zealanders had not especially enjoyed the long day in the field on Sunday.

"I told the captain I was ready to bowl when we came out after tea," he said.

Generally he has hidden when bowlers are being sought.

"I would like to contribute more in the field than as a bowler," he said.

While things have been going well in partnership with Matthew Bell in their four opening stands, which have produced one century stand, 91 and 69, he said opening can be a pretty fickle thing.

The ball had moved around a lot on the first morning and they had been beaten a lot but got through ok.

"I enjoy batting with Matt," he said and they are looking to put more big stands together for the benefit of the side.

If that helps towards making life easier for the New Zealand middle order it has to be a welcome development.

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