Australian players sledged...by fans

By David Leggat

Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson. Photo / Getty
Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson. Photo / Getty

A ball hasn't been bowled in anger yet but already the transtasman banter is off and running.

Young Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson experienced it at the Eden Park nets today. There they were minding their own business when a group of onlookers from the other side of the fence on Sandringham Rd piped up with well-chosen advice through the netting.

"We've copped a bit already just being in the nets, so just the same as what we got in the last half an hour," Richardson said of what they expect may lie ahead.

"It's something that's been mentioned for the blokes who haven't been here. You're going to cop a bit.

"Boof [coach Darren Lehman] said when he played in Wellington he got a fish thrown at him, or a toilet seat or something, so it'd be nice if that didn't happen."

The 24-year-old from Eudunda, 110km north of Adelaide, is an example of the changing face of the Australian team. He's played 14 internationals, and his T20 proficiency won him a $US700,000 deal with Pune in the Indian Premier League in 2013.

He's no stranger to New Zealand, having played in the world under 19 tournament in early 2010 - indeed hitting the top score of 44 in the final victory over Pakistan at Lincoln.

"I've heard plenty about the [Eden Park] straight boundaries. That was the main chat on the way over.

"That last series we played in [against India] was tough for the bowlers and it's going to be no different here in these three games. Worldwide one-day cricket is high scoring, that's the way it is," Richardson said.

He also appeals as a man with, at least publicly, an unusual slant on the ODI series to come. You'll be favourites, right?

"We're playing away so we're probably the underdogs, and rightfully so.

"These are two quality teams, World Cup finalists and I think New Zealand have won 18 of 20 one-dayers here so that's a pretty daunting record to come up against.

"Everyone plays their home conditions well these days so I think New Zealand are favourites and we've got to try and find a way to win this first game which will go along way to upsetting the momentum."

If you fancy an example of how quickly cricket moves on, try this.

Just four Australian players survive in the current squad from the team who lost the one-wicket heart-stopper in their last clash with New Zealand at Eden Park, in the World Cup meeting on February 28.

Captain Steve Smith, allrounders Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh and opener David Warner are the only players still in business 12 months' on, for various reasons.

The then-captain Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, quick Mitchell Johnson and New Zealand's favourite Australian keeper Brad Haddin have retired. Opener Aaron Finch, and pace pair Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are injured.

New Zealand have three players missing from their XI that momentous day - Dan Vettori has retired, while Ross Taylor and Tim Southee are recovering from injury. The other eight, Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi Adam Milne and Trent Boult are all expected to play tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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