Chief Selector George Bailey Reveals Reason Behind Jhye Richardson's Exclusion From Contract List
Jhye Richardson had headlined the second Ashes Test at Adelaide late last year, grabbing a five-wicket haul as Australia went on to take a 2-0 lead against England.
Cricket Australia (CA) chief selector George Bailey said on Friday that 25-year-old pace bowler Jhye Richardson's struggles to remain fit was the main reason why he was not in the list of 20 centrally contracted men's players announced on Thursday.
Richardson had headlined the second Ashes Test at Adelaide late last year, grabbing a five-wicket haul as Australia went on to take a 2-0 lead, before clinching the five-match series 4-0. But Richardson suffered a leg injury and subsequently missing the rest of the Ashes games.
He was rested for the three-Test series against Pakistan, with CA taking a long-term view. But his exclusion from the list of 20 centrally contracted players came as a huge surprise to many, who were looking at Richardson as one of the mainstays for the future.
On Friday, Bailey told cricket.com.au that Richardson was "unfortunate to miss" out on a CA men's contract, but indicated it was likely the he, Matthew Wade and Kane Richardson would feature in the Sri Lanka tour.
Australia will play three T20Is, five ODIs and two Tests in June-July, their first tour of Sri Lanka since 2016.
Besides the leg injury suffered during the Adelaide Test, Richardson has been unlucky in the sense that he dislocated his right shoulder while fielding before the ICC World Cup in mid-2019 and went under the knife. Then on a comeback trail, he suffered a side strain and missed two Australian first-class cricket seasons.
Bailey said that all those injuries were considered before he and fellow selector Tony Dodemaide took a final call on the central contract list.
"Jhye, we like his skills set across all three formats and we're just looking forward to his availability increasing and continuing to build his resilience and ability to play a lot more cricket over the next 12 months," said Bailey.
"And a little bit the same with Kane (Richardson), with that T20 World Cup coming up (in Australia next October).
"If the contract list was 10, then the 11th looks unlucky and if it was 25 then the 26th looks unlucky," Bailey added highlighting the difficulty of preparing an extensive list of candidates.
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"There's always someone who just misses. You could say (Jhye Richardson) was unfortunate to miss, I think Matthew Wade's another one in the same boat and Kane Richardson to an extent as well. They're all guys we fully expect will play for Australia in the near future. In all likelihood they'll all be picked in our next touring party (to Sri Lanka). They're not contracted, but certainly not (deemed as) not required, their skills sets are all really important. Wade is still first-choice wicketkeeper in our T20 team, with a big build-up coming to that World Cup."