Jhye Richardson still in selection mix despite missing on CA contract

Matthew Wade and Kane Richardson could also tour Sri Lanka despite not getting deals

Alex Malcolm
Jhye Richardson wasn't contracted despite five-wicket haul in his last Test  •  AFP/Getty Images

Jhye Richardson wasn't contracted despite five-wicket haul in his last Test  •  AFP/Getty Images

Chairman of selectors George Bailey insisted fast bowler Jhye Richardson remains a key part of Australia's plans across all three formats and could even tour Sri Lanka in June despite being dropped off the central contract list.
Richardson was the most notable omission from the 20-man list having returned to Test cricket last summer for the first time since early 2019. He took 5 for 42 in his last Test bowling innings in Adelaide against England to help Australia to victory on the final day.
But he was rested from the following Test in Melbourne due to shin soreness and did not get back for the rest of the series due to Scott Boland's remarkable emergence.
Richardson played the last two of Australia's five T20Is against Sri Lanka in February but was not considered for the Pakistan tour in order to remain at home and play with Western Australia. He then injured his hamstring in the Marsh Cup final and missed the Sheffield Shield decider.
Bailey said Richardson was unfortunate but the selectors still see him as a key part of Australia's plans over the next 12 months.
"There's always someone who just misses," Bailey said. "Absolutely, you could say he was unfortunate to miss. "We like his skill set across all three formats. And [we're] just looking forward to his availability increasing and continuing to build his resilience and an ability to play a lot more cricket over the next 12 months."
Bailey added Matthew Wade and Kane Richardson fell into a similar category, especially with a T20 World Cup later this year.
"They're all guys that we fully expect will play for Australia in the near future," Bailey said. "In all likelihood, they'll all be picked probably in our next touring party. Wadey is still our first-choice wicketkeeper in our T20 team and [there's] a big build-up coming up to that World Cup. And a little bit the same with Kane with that T20 World Cup coming up as well."
Josh Inglis kept in Australia's one-off T20I against Pakistan in Lahore with Wade not selected to tour Pakistan given there was only one T20I and he is not part of Australia's ODI plans moving forward.
Inglis was given a contract ahead of Wade as he is now the reserve wicketkeeper in all three formats, backing up Alex Carey in the Test and ODI side. Bailey said the decision to contract Inglis was as much about the future as it was about the here and now.
"Josh has obviously done really well in the opportunities that he's had," Bailey said. "He's clearly our keeper-in-waiting I guess behind Alex in the Test and one-day formats. And he's the keeper-in-waiting behind Wadey in the T20 format. He's going to be a huge part of every tour that we go on. We're investing as much in the future with him as we are looking at what's happened in the past 12 months."
Bailey was hopeful Australia will be able to send a near full-strength side in all formats on their next tour of Sri Lanka in June and July after David Warner, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith and Mitchell Marsh all missed the white-ball portion of the recent tour of Pakistan for a variety of reasons. Warner, Cummins, and Hazlewood were given time off ahead of the IPL having also missed some or all of the T20I series against Sri Lanka. Marsh picked up an injury ahead of the ODIs in Pakistan which ruled him out of the series while Smith left the tour early to manage an elbow problem.
Australia are set to play three T20Is, five ODIs and two Tests in Sri Lanka with the first T20I starting June 7. The qualifying portion of the IPL finishes on May 22 and the final is to be held on May 29, but Bailey does not anticipate there will be a need to rest players from large chunks of the tour.
"Not necessarily," Bailey said. "It'll just be a case-by-case basis. The one thing we don't know is how much each player is going to play over there, how far each franchise is going to get into the tournament. If players don't get that far in the tournament, there's every opportunity for them to maybe get a little bit of a freshen up physically and a small break at home.
"Fingers crossed, the Sri Lanka tour will be the start of getting back to a little bit of flexibility in terms of getting guys in individually as opposed to having to fly in on charters and do quarantines and things like that.
"I don't know if that's the case but certainly hoping that's where we're heading. So we'll just work through that. But certainly, the guys that play all formats, as we've seen, it's a big tour so the guys that are in the mix to play the three T20s, the five ODIs, and the two Tests...and the Tests will be the priority for that series."

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo