The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘I always wanted to bat like Wright’

Rajkot: Mark Richardson, who batted through the first day to remain unbeaten on 128 (381 minutes, 304 balls, 18x4, 2x6) in the match against India A, idolises Team India coach John Wright. Incidentally, Wright is an ex-New Zealand captain.

“John probably doesn’t know but, as a youngster, I wanted to bat like him... I’ll be happy if, at the end of my career, I can finish being half as good,” Richardson, 32, remarked during an interaction with the Media on Thursday evening.

[Typically, Wright was somewhat embarrassed when The Telegraph drew his attention to Richardson’s comments: “Did he say that' Well, he’s a good opener and I hope he doesn’t get many runs at our expense... From what I remember, though, he began his career as a left-arm spinner...”]

Indeed, Richardson did start that way, but began focussing on batting once he found that giving the leather a tweak wasn’t exactly his cup of tea. Today, he is an established opener and averages a high 48-plus in 24 Tests. In fact, in the last series versus India, he was the only New Zealander to score a fifty (89 in Wellington) in the two Tests.

Talking about his innings here, Richardson said the effort was “90 per cent” mental and that surviving the entire daywas part of his “gameplan.” However, he conceded the (greenish) wicket was quite unlike the ones usually offered in India. “I think the quicks got carried away, though I myself had to scratch for the first 30-odd runs...”

Actually, despite being fatigued — understandable as the mercury nearly touched 37 degrees — Richardson didn’t lose his sense of humour. He quipped: “I hope I haven’t used up all my luck at the start of the tour itself!”

His captain, Stephen Fleming, must also be saying that of him.

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