From 1999 on VHS to Kane Richardson earning his World Cup 'dream'

Kane Richardson runs in Getty Images

Kane Richardson's first World Cup memory is of buying the VHS of Australia's 1999 triumph. Now, 20 years on, he has the chance to follow the "dream", having as recently as six months ago assumed that he might never get the opportunity.

Richardson was in the mix for the 2015 tournament on home soil but didn't make the final cut. After that, he struggled to cement a position over the intervening four years. A difficult tour of England and Zimbabwe last year, where he suddenly found himself a senior figure in a threadbare side, finished with him out of the team and well down the pecking order.

Before last season's BBL, he spoke of having stopped thinking about international honours and having figured that he was a long way off selection. However, a prolific tournament for champions Melbourne Renegades, where he finished as the leading wicket-taker, brought him back in the frame and he featured on the tours to India and the UAE, although injury meant he only played two ODIs against Pakistan.

Two strong performances to help Australia take a 5-0 series victory kept his name firmly up for discussion when the World Cup squad was picked but, as in 2015, he didn't quite make it. However, this time he was next in line and over breakfast earlier this week he got the nod when Jhye Richardson was ruled out.

"The first feelings are for him, he did everything he could to be fit and had an amazing last six months," Kane said. "I'm over the moon because it's a childhood dream for me, selfishly I'm super excited but at the same stage I'm feeling for Jhye.

"I remember four years ago missing out the 2015 team and being in a few squads beforehand, and I thought I'm 24 then and the next one I'm 28 so that's probably my shot if I get one. I still wasn't thinking about it a month ago, but what struck me the most getting the call was I remember watching the 1999 World Cup and that's one I went and rented the VHS and watched it back. It kind of hit then that these sort of things probably don't come round ever again."

Though it was his performances in the BBL that propelled him back into the international reckoning, followed by two good showings at the death of tight games against Pakistan, Richardson is keen to be known as more than a bowler full of T20 tricks or just a man to close out an innings.

"In the UAE that's what JL [Langer] was happy with in those two games, right at the end in crunch times," he said. "I think that's my strength, but I want to be a well-rounded bowler in any stage of the innings. If I'm going to play a role at the World Cup I've got to be able to do that as well."

Part of that will be calling on the experiences of the torrid tour of England last year in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, which finished with a new-look side beaten 5-0. Amid the carnage, Richardson's figures were actually respectable as he took six wickets in three ODIs at an economy rate of six. However, the T20 which finished that tour saw him taken for 59 off four overs and it was his last international outing until the recent Pakistan series.

"We obviously got our bums kicked, but for me personally [with the ball], it was about starting well," he reflected. "I still go back to that in these games here, trying to start well in the first two or three overs, set the day up without going for 30 in your first four overs otherwise you can be chasing your tail."

He was wicketless in the first two matches against the New Zealand XI in Brisbane but is confident of getting up to speed before Australia start their World Cup against Afghanistan on June 1. "I'm coming off two weeks off and two weeks in the indoor centre, so it's just nice to get back bowling. I was pretty cooked by the end. But that's the positive of getting together so early, we've still got just under a month to go."