In and out of the Australian side several times over an international career that is now into its eighth year, Kane Richardson spoke ahead of the ODI series about his love for T20, the challenges of bowling in India, how he turned vegan, and more.
What goes through your mind if the score is something like 60 for 0 after seven overs and you're coming on first change?
I guess you almost go into a T20 mindset and try and restrict the damage in the Powerplay. I think the Powerplay over here [in India] is such a huge part. But in saying that, having Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood fit and firing at the top, hopefully we get them 20 for 3 or whatever.
I think it's all about being ready to do what the team needs whenever the ball is thrown at you - whether it's damage control or trying to take wickets after a good start.
I guess T20 helps in that, since you can come on at times when the ball is flying around. But the extra fielder helps as well.
You've bowled well for the Melbourne Renegades in the BBL for a couple of seasons now. T20 teaches you how to come back in an over after being hit for three fours in a row. How would you go about bowling in the middle of such an over here in India - do you try more variations or go for a yorker?
I think the sequence of your over is so important, whether that be going for a yorker at the start of the over and not going for a boundary in your first couple of overs, or if it's on a wicket that's conducive to bowling a slower ball, going to that. So it's thinking on your feet - what's working on the day, what's working for the other boys, what isn't working as well. It's crucial in that time when the ball is flying around, if you do go for 12 off three balls, to not go for 20 off the over. And the same in the spell. If you've gone for a big first over, make sure the next over you pull it back, so you can still influence the game in three of your last ten overs or get back in the game. We all know it is hard for bowlers over here, but if you can impact the game, then try to come back and do that.
You've been a death bowler for the Renegades in the BBL but does bowling at the death in India change your tactics or do you continue to stick to the basics?
It probably does [change] because of the ground size, which over here is a lot smaller. Your tools are probably your yorker a lot more here because you don't want the blokes getting under you and hitting you for a six that way, whereas off slower balls, top edges can fly. It is a lot less bounce [in India] so slower balls don't bounce as much, but they can grip more. You just turn up, see what's working well and go with that. You can have all the plans in the world and all the best intentions, but they can go out of the window pretty quick.
Bowling with the dew - how does one train for that?
It's a hard thing to do. It's unnerving as a bowler knowing that the ball can slip out and be a beamer or a full toss, and even on the pitch it can slip around. It is really uncomfortable and you can train all you want, but it all depends on the game. That moment right there when you have the ball, that's when it matters. It's nothing new to us - back home we get dew as well, the Gabba gets quite dewy. It's something as a modern-day cricketer you just have to turn up and do your best with.
With Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood in the squad, it could be that you only get one game in this series. What would you want to do in that game so you're satisfied on the flight back?
If that's the case, it's nothing new to me. I'm always ready and willing to go when picked. I'm happy to be around this team and to be involved. But I won't look at stats or how I go on the scoreboard. It's all going to be about: what was my preparation like, what was my execution like? And if that means going for 80 off ten but we win, if that means going for 75 but I influence the game at the back end, so be it.
I think I'm comfortable in terms of how I prepare and what tools I have. As long as I'm ready and willing to go and try and influence the game where I can, then I'll get on the flight happy.
"Once you go vegetarian for a certain period of time, you feel good. I mean, I lost some weight, but I also haven't been injured since I've done it. I've definitely got leaner"
You've completed seven years in international cricket. How much do you think you have grown, and are you happy with the journey so far?
Well, in seven years I think I've played only 20 games [22 ODIs at the time of this interview], so maths tells you that's three games a year! Probably shows that when I started, I wasn't ready. I was picked on potential. I don't think I was even meant to play that debut game, but an injury happened the night before. I battled for probably two or three years at the start to nail down a spot. I didn't feel like I was good enough.
You just want to play and do well, and if you're not good enough [for international cricket], you can live with that as well, because you still have a job where you can play cricket all around the world. Over the journey I've just learnt to enjoy whatever it is I'm doing, and if it is just playing state cricket or Big Bash, then so be it, and funnily enough, doing that I've performed and got back in the Australian team. It feels a lot longer than seven years ago but I guess you learn a lot as you grow older and play a lot more.
What has the BBL taught you so far?
Well, I think just moving teams - at the start I was with Adelaide [Strikers] for a while, and then moving to Melbourne under Andrew McDonald was something I wanted to do just to grow as a cricketer and to get out of Adelaide, which is the place I'd been in since I started playing professionally.
I think the competition has grown so much. You look at the IPL and [the BBL is] still a long way from that, but in terms of how it started from year one to what it is now, there's so much that goes into it, analytics, analysis of opposition. And the blokes are so good at it now. Every night you know you're in for a serious contest. Like the IPL, there's so many good players going around. It's just been enjoyable to play because it's turned into such a professional competition where every team can beat you on any night and vice versa. It's just something l love playing.
You've been bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore. Their bowling has not been their strong point. How are you looking forward to playing there?
I had experience there in 2016. I didn't play a whole lot but it is a franchise I'm familiar with, and I remember turning up and hearing all the things about how the bowling's been the issue. We actually made the final that year and got beaten by [Sunrisers] Hyderabad.
I had a great time there. It's a great place to play. It's not the best place to bowl in - again, you just turn up and try your best. But looking forward to it again, playing under Virat [Kohli], playing with AB [de Villiers]. Aaron Finch is there this year. So hopefully this year is the year. I know those fans have been through a long period without success, so hopefully it's close and hopefully we can have a really good, enjoyable year.
You turned vegan about five years ago. How did that happen, and did Adam Zampa influence you in any way?
Well, he did originally. I remember being at Bangalore and I was vegetarian. I think it was a day off and I watched a documentary on Netflix - I think it's called Conspiracy. My wife watched it and she showed it to me. I got through the tour and then got home and she said, "We're going vegan." It wasn't that big a thing. We were vegetarians for about six months before that. Obviously in India, being vegetarian is quite an easy thing to do, but [for vegans] it can be a bit of a challenge now, considering most things have cheese or butter or cream, but that's getting better as well. Virat's a big hand with that - he always gives out some tips about where to go or even passes on some food or breakfast.
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Maybe that's why he bought you in the IPL auction.
(Laughs) Maybe that's why! He actually did send me a message when I got picked [in the auction]. He said, "Welcome back and make sure the super foods are ready", and I said, "I'm looking forward to breakfast time already."
How did you happen to go vegetarian?
We drove past a farm or something and there were some lambs and my partner was like, "They actually remind me of our dog." From that day on, we stopped eating lamb, and once you make a justification of one thing, it's like we probably shouldn't eat beef either, and then it's pork, fish, chicken. And then you go vegetarian and a natural progression of that is to not eat dairy or eggs either.
I don't think you can do it overnight. It has to be that gradual progression, and having someone like Zamps around helps because there's two of you to look after each other. We've always got snacks and other stuff and we look after each other, so it is quite easy.
So it all started because of your dog.
Yeah, that was how it started. There were little baby lambs running around and we thought, "That looks like our dog at home." And when we went to dinner that night, we were like, "We probably shouldn't eat that." I don't know how other people have done it, but for us that was what it was. But it has been quite easy.
If everyone went vegetarian then I'm sure the world would change. I think people think it's such a big thing, but once you do it for a certain period of time, you feel good. I mean, I lost some weight, but I also haven't been injured since I've done it. I've definitely got leaner, and I felt like I couldn't get injured because I wasn't carrying around weight that I didn't need. I mean, that's me personally. I don't know what Peter Siddle talks about how he felt or how he recovers quicker, and he's definitely got leaner as well. He's played a lot of cricket as well.