You’re an ambitious county who wants to lose the tag of “The only side to not reach finals day”, so what do you do? You go out and sign the leading wicket taker from this year’s Big Bash League, that’s what you do!
Derbyshire are that county and Kane Richardson is that bowler, announced last week as the county’s second overseas player for the duration of this season’s Vitality T20 Blast competition.
Richardson may not be the most recognisable name in Australian cricket’s bowling ranks at the moment – behind Cummings, Starc and Patterson – but his stock is rising. Winning the Big bash with the Melbourne Renegades this season and finishing with 24 wickets at an average of 17.7, taking a wicket every 13.3 balls, he is a proven match winner and excellent addition to the county.
For a side who haven’t reached finals day, Derbyshire have shown improved form over the last two seasons, reaching a quarter final in 2017 and winning five games in 2018. This resurgence has been down to a consistent formula of bowlers who bowl fast and faster still.
Last season it was Lockie Ferguson, Wahab Riaz, Hardus Viljoen and Ravi Rampaul. With three of those departed, Richardson will fill one of those gaps and their other overseas player, Logan Van Beek, will fill another. It is, again, a fearsome pace attack.
Richardson also offers experience that, with the departures of Riaz and Viljoen, could be lacking in the Falcons’ pace attack. T20 head Coach Dominic Cork recognised this as he talked about Richardson’s signing saying:
“Kane is a top-level T20 bowler and that is what we were looking for with our second overseas signing.
“He’s just won the BBL, which is one of the most competitive tournaments in the game, and I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen.
“He’s quick and with his international experience I’m looking forward to seeing him lead the line for Derbyshire.”
Cork will be no doubt be looking for him to guide the likes of Alfie Gleadall, Sam Conners and James Taylor as they look to break into the first team as a batch of young exciting seamers.
While Richardson is experienced around the world, he hasn’t played in the English T20 competition before and cities don’t come much more different than Melbourne and Derby. People may be asking if he can he do it on a cold Friday night in Derby. But it would be a foolish person to bet against it.
Richardson has clearly done his homework and is going into the competition prepared: “I’ve been lucky to play in T20 tournaments around the world,” he said, “but this will be my first experience of the Vitality Blast and I’m looking forward to getting going.
“It’s a competitive tournament and I know a few of the guys we’ll be facing, and they all say how great the crowds are under the lights on the T20 nights in England.
“Derbyshire are an ambitious club who have been progressing well in the last few seasons, so hopefully I can contribute towards some wins and get Derbyshire towards the knockout stages.”
The knockout stages that Richardson talks about are the promised land for Derbyshire, and they will be hoping that they can do what Worcestershire did last season and win the competition on their first visit to finals day.
If they are to do this, then Richardson’s signing could well be key in breaking the county’s duck this season.