Mark Richardson: 10 facts about one of the New Zealand’s most admired players

Born June 11, 1971, Mark Richardson is a New Zealand cricketer who initially started his career as a left- arm spinner but renovated himself into an opening batsman after suffering from yips. A prolific batsman against the red ball, Richardson represented the national side in 38 Tests but had an awful time in the One-Day Internationals (ODIs). He featured in just 4 ODI games at a dreadful average of 10.50. On his 45th birthday, Suraj Choudhari pens down 10 intriguing facts about the batsman who thrived under pressure.

1.  Nick names: Richardson earned many nick names for his uncanny knacks on and off the field. He had a nickname ‘Rigor’ which is related to ‘Rigor Mortis’ for his habit of moving like a dead. Richardson was also reckoned as snail man for his quality of running very slowly.

2.  Comedy of errors: During the India tour of New Zealand in 2002, Richardson threw the bat high in the air while shadow practising after driving Ajit Agarkar for a boundary. He apologised right away but the moment was worth a laugh. Relive the moment here:

3.  Caught Shane Warne on 99: Warne, over the years has been reckoned for his wily spin but showed glimpse of batting on numerous occasions. He was on a brink of creating history by smashing his maiden Test ton but Richardson didn’t let him achieve this milestone as he got the better of him on a disheartening 99. He was caught by Richardson while Daniel Vettori was putting in the hard yards.

4.  Retired early: Richardson called it a day from international cricket in 2004 at the age of 33, right after the Australian tour.  

5.  Century at Lord’s: Richardson is one of the rare players to have plundered a century at the ‘Mecca of cricket — Lord’s’. It was the first Test in May 2004 against England where he opened the batting and scored 93 in the first innings

6.  Part of history: In the Mohali Test during the tour to India tour in 2003, Richardson recorded his finest Test knock of 145. With this, he also scripted a record and registered the second-highest opening partnership for New Zealand in an overseas Test along with Lou Vincent as the duo added 231. 

7.  Mohammad Yousuf as his only Test scalp: Richardson was a left-arm spinner who later transformed in to an opening batsman as he worked on his batting. Interestingly, in 38 Tests, which he played, he only had a solitary wicket to his name. He got rid of Mohammad Yousuf on a mammoth 203 as he was caught and bowled in the second Test at Christchurch in March 2001.

8.  Racer? At the end of every tour, Richardson used to challenge the slowest runner from the opposite dugout for a race. It was an interesting move as he managed to beat Darren Lehmann in this competition.

9.  Brads manque: Richardson signed off his First-Class career with a staggering average of 42.89 and 9,994 runs to his name. He cited this achievement with legendary cricketer Donald Bradman and illustrated as “only different from Donald Bradman’s Test batting average by a decimal point”.

10.  Post-retirement: Like many other cricketers, Richardson too managed to remain associated to the game as he rendered his services as a cricket commentator for SKY Sports.  He co-hosts Prime show The Crowd Goes Wild and hosts The Block NZ. Richardson is also a breakfast radio announcer for The Morning Sound.

(Suraj Choudharian avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with CricLife)