The Australian cricket team is currently in the United Arab Emirates ahead of their T20 World Cup campaign with bowler Kane Richardson detailing the challenging climate conditions helping prepare for the tournament.
The Australian T20 World Cup squad has had different levels of preparation and game experience before joining up with each other, notably Australia’s tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh, and the Indian Premier League, as well as domestic competitions back home.
For fast bowler Richardson, who pulled out of the remaining IPL fixtures in April and didn’t participate in the aforementioned tours in August, it’s been a more difficult adjustment to the conditions in the Middle East than some of his fellow teammates.
However, with other players yet to fully join the squad and varying amounts of recent gametime within the group, Richardson predicts the side will be able to contend to their best ability, signaling there’s plenty of time to work on their preparations.
“Our group is so experienced, everyone’s played enough cricket and they’ve played for so long that you don’t lose your skill through lack of gametime,” Richardson told media on Saturday.
“We’ve got a week until our first game so there’s plenty of time and opportunity to get back on the horse but as I said, everyone’s so experienced and knows what they need to do so it won’t be an issue at all.”
While conceding the team’s recent form was less-than-ideal – two T20 wins from 10 matches against the West Indies and Bangladesh -, the paceman says the current group knows each other and their roles to help understand how to approach the T20 World Cup.
“Obviously that tour didn’t go the way that anyone wanted it to but I think looking back to 2019 when we were really peaking in the T20 game, priming for last year’s World Cup in Australia that didn’t happen, ” he said.
“I think everyone was really clear in their roles and it’s a pretty similar group to that one that was clicking so well so everyone’s got really good memories, especially this group that’s been together for a couple of years now.
“Basically, it’s all around role clarity and once everyone’s on board and knows what they need to do it’s about going out there and doing your job to the best of your ability but there’s good cricketers everywhere here so I’m sure we’ll be ready to go.”
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Speaking on his thoughts and plan of attack towards Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign which begins against South Africa on October 23, Richardson is firstly hoping to further acclimatise to the high temperatures in the UAE to be better suited to spending long hours in the field – especially as four of Australia’s five group stage matches take place during the day.
“To be honest, the conditions back home in Adelaide preparing for this World Cup weren’t really the same as here y’know, 15 degrees and green wickets compared to 40 degrees and dust bowls, it’s not really the same,” he referred.
“I think as long as we’re acclimatising as best we can to the environment, we’ve got a week leading into game one with two practice games so our skills will catch up, it’s just more, as I said, getting used to that heat so fingers crossed that can happen as soon as possible.”
The 30-year-old feels like he’s behind the pecking order of a team that boasts the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins. Despite this, he is looking to use the side’s warm-up matches against New Zealand and India to put forward his case for selection, understanding the pitches may benefit spinners too, further indicating his need to impress.
“I think, on the surface, I would say that [the slower pitch] does suit myself but whether that’s enough to get picked…,” he commented.
“Spin’s going to play a huge factor so whether or not a fast bowler who’s got a bigger array of slower balls is gonna be viewed as more effective than a spinner then we’ll find out but I think each one of us quicks do it slightly differently.
“Obviously Starc and Cummins are express pace and Hazlewood’s not far behind them, he can bowl 140-plus so I think there’s good variety there in how we go about it. And if they are slow wickets, sometimes those guys bowling their natural test match length is going to be hard to score [against] as well so we’ll see.
“I’m just trying to back in what I have in my kit bag and just trying to execute those as best I can get the repetition in the next week, and hopefully be ready to go in a week’s time if I get selected.
“But I’ve always said all along, as long as I’m making the decision as hard as I can for the selectors, if that still means I don’t get picked then so-be-it, I’m happy to be at a World Cup with Australia and hopefully with that comes a bit of success as well.”
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