Rarely you will hear about a batsman who began his first-class career batting at number ten and later become Test opener for the national team of the country. One such player was Mark Richardson who was born on June 11, 1971.
Richardson began his first-class cricket career with the Auckland team. He was a left-arm spin bowler and played at number ten at the time. However, due to an illness, he moved his attention from bowling to batting and he eventually began opening for New Zealand in Test cricket.
Richardson was 30 years old when he made his Test debut for New Zealand, and he played his final Test for his country at the age of 34. He only played Test cricket for four years. He currently works for Sky Sports in New Zealand as a commentator.
Even over the short span of four years, he amazed everyone with his hitting ability. In 38 Tests for New Zealand, he scored 2776 runs at an average of 45. At the same time, this batsman scored 42 runs in four One-Day Internationals.
Richardson scored his first Test century against Pakistan
In 2000, Richardson made his Test debut against Zimbabwe. He was removed after scoring 19 runs in the opening match. However, he fell one run short of a century in the second Test in Harare. He proceeded to score half-centuries after that. However, the century was missed.
After six Tests, his wish was granted, and in the Hamilton Test against Pakistan in 2001 the batsman got his first Test century.
Richardson got his highest score in Tests against India
Richardson then added three more centuries to his tally including one against India
In the 2003 Mohali Test against India, he had the highest Test innings of 145 runs. Lou Vicente (106), Scott Styris (119), and Craig McMillan are three more New Zealand batsmen who made over 100 runs in this Test.
The innings was then declared with New Zealand having scored 630 runs for six wickets. This is the team’s second-highest international score.
Richardson’s special connection with Bradman
Richardson liked to humorously talk about his accomplishments during his career, and in doing so, he would compare himself to renowned players.
He also had a unique bond with Don Bradman, the renowned Australian batsman. In 157 first-class matches, this Kiwi batsman scored 9994 runs. As Richardson missed to reach the landmark score of 10000 runs in first-class cricket he would say if you put a decimal point in the middle it would be equal to the Test average of Bradman.
The legendary Bradman averaged 99.94 and scored 6996 runs in 52 Tests.
Apart from that, he had a special bond with Richard Hadlee, his country’s finest all-rounder. Richardson had one wicket at an average of 21 in 38 Tests, which was better than Headley’s average of 22.29. In comparison to Richardson, Headley had grabbed 431 wickets in Tests.