Former Australia captain Mark Taylor believes that young pacer Jhye Richardson’s extra pace and ability to swing the ball away from batters should be enough for him to replace an injured Josh Hazlewood in Australias playing eleven for the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval.
Hazlewood was officially ruled out of the second Ashes Test after suffering a side strain during the nine-wicket victory over England in the first Test at the Gabba in four days. Richardson, who played two Tests in 2019, has been touted as the front-runner to replace Hazlewood though he faces tough competition from Queensland pacer Michael Neser, someone who has been named as Austral’a’s 12th man in Test cricket on many occasions.
“It seems to me Australia are looking for that little bit more pace, and that’s probably not a bad thing. If you look at England they’re used to guys who bowl around 125-130km/h, but they seem to struggle a little bit more with the guys who have got a bit more in them. A bit of extra pace, he’s got the ability to swing it away, and if he (Richardson) can make England play he could be a handful with the pink ball,” said Taylor on Outside The Rope show on Wide World of Sports.
Taylor further said that Richardson’s economy rate is better than Neser’s, something which Australia might be looking at for filling the vacant spot left by Hazlewood. “Australia will be looking for almost a like-for-like replacement. Josh Hazlewood gives Pat Cummins the captain a lot of control. He bowls a great line and length. Very rarely do you see Josh Hazlewood go for anything more than about three runs per over, and sometimes he’s less than two.”
“Jhye Richardson’s economy in Shield cricket is actually better than Neser’s (2.66 runs per over compared to 2.84). The fact that Richardson was also the 12th man at the Gabba suggests that he’s the next man in, and in those couple of Test matches he played a couple of years ago he did a very good job. I’m sure he will be champing at the bit ready to go.”
With regards to Hazlewood, the 57-year-old is worried that the prolific pacer may not be seen again in the ongoing Ashes. “It will be interesting to see if he does get back, Josh Hazlewood. Bear in mind that about a month from today will be the start of the last Test. So it’s not a lot of time to recover, there’s no longer a couple of Shield games in between Test matches. Josh Hazelwood hasn’t got a lot of time and as a bowler, a side strain is about as bad as you can get.”
“Obviously he’s going to miss Adelaide and then we’ve only got five or six days until the Boxing Day Test so does he make that? And then you’ve only got another six days to Sydney, so which one are they going to try to get Josh Hazlewood for? Last week I had him down for most wickets in the series, so straight away I’m in trouble,” concluded Taylor.