Mark Richardson 's Opinion

Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Richardson: Milne's T20 baptism risks quick exit

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Adam Milne. File photo / Ross Setford
Adam Milne. File photo / Ross Setford

There is no substitute for raw pace - and since Shane Bond left the Black Caps it has been sorely missed.

So I am heartened to see young speedster Adam Milne back in the picture. But I'm not sure T20 is the place for this kid to develop into the spearhead our country needs.

Aside from the warm-up game against Australia overnight, Milne has played three T20 internationals and has one wicket at an average just shy of 12 runs per over.

His domestic record is hardly startling, going at over 8. So why is he in this team?

It must be because he has the ability to bowl fast. Milne is gifted with raw pace.

That excites me and don't get me wrong: I like this kid. However, he would be better suited bowling fast spells and learning to work batsmen over and out.

This is achieved in the longer forms of the game. Is bowling slower balls and massive variations in line and length really what he needs right now?

I'll concede he has had injury problems which have stopped him playing much cricket over the last few years; he has only managed six first-class matches. Perhaps having him charge in for just four overs a game for New Zealand is a good way to encourage and expose him to international cricket and lessen the chance of him limping out of the game, but right now surely his experiences are doing little for him. I'll also concede that he is unlikely to command a place in the test team but in time, he could provide that spearhead that turns the promising seam and swing qualities of Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee and Trent Boult into a proper bowling unit.

T20 is a baptism of fire for a young cricketer and because of its importance to the modern cricketer, it is certainly not "a bit of fun" any longer. If the Black Caps decide to persevere with Milne in this form and the lad comes through, I will be thrilled.

But unless the kid can find the confidence and pace to blast players out with yorkers and bouncers, this experiment could ruin him. At the very least, it could make him defensive-minded.

Some of the world's fastest bowlers have gravitated to T20 at the expense of test cricket with success, but these players did so on the back of a lot of overs in first-class and/or test cricket.

In Milne we have something to be really excited about - but he needs overs under his belt or we risk losing him, and never seeing what a genuine quick bowler can do for our team.

- NZ Herald

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Hunter Richardson represented New Zealand in 38 Tests from 2000-2004 racking up an impressive 2,776 runs with an average of 44.7. The former Black Cap began his cricketing career as a left-arm spinner but soon realised that his talents lay with the bat. The transition from ball to bat was seamless and Richardson soon made his international debut against Zimbabwe at the age of 29. Known as a stalwart opener, Richardson’s intelligent style of hard-grind batting came at the perfect time for New Zealand cricket and provided much-needed stability for the Black Caps. Apart from being an excellent opening batsman, Mark Richardson was well-known among fans and team mates for his humorous off-pitch antics and friendly interactions with the famous Beige Brigade, with whom he formed a strong relationship. An excellent cricketer with a personable quality, Richardson once remarked that his retiring first-class average was only different to that of Sir Donald Bradman by a decimal point. Mark Richardson retired from all forms of the game in 2004 and continues to write an insightful, thought-provoking column for the New Zealand Herald.

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