Richardson treasuring MCC bow
Alan Richardson is relishing the prospect of finally representing MCC in the Champion County clash with Lancashire in a fortnight’s time.
The Worcestershire seamer, who has also had spells at Derbyshire, Warwickshire and Middlesex, missed the opportunity to play in the corresponding fixture four years ago due to injury.
But after topping last season’s LV= County Championship Division One wicket-taking charts, the 36-year-old has been rewarded with the chance to end his long wait and play in the traditional first-class curtain raiser in Abu Dhabi.
Richardson, who will operate with the pink ball under floodlights, is determined to repay the faith shown in him by MCC against the county champions.
“I can’t wait to get to Abu Dhabi really, to get outside and have a proper bowl which will be nice,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“It’s a massive honour. I got selected for the MCC side in 2008, but was injured so I didn’t get the opportunity.
“I didn’t think I would get the chance again so it’s an absolute honour, it’s fantastic and, like I say, it’s a chance to get out to Abu Dhabi and use all the great facilities there. It will be a great 10 days away.
“Last year I couldn’t have wished for a better season on a personal note and if that’s recognition for that, then it’s fantastic. The chance to play in this game against the champion county is a really good opportunity for me.”
Richardson was encouraged by the performance of the England seam attack during their Test series with Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year, on surfaces that were expected to strongly favour spinners.
After experiencing the conditions in the Middle East before, Richardson is hoping he can reproduce the form that saw him play an integral role as Worcestershire secured their top-flight status in 2011.
“I certainly watched that series with interest and it looked like it was pretty good to bowl seam on,” he said.
“At the start of the series, if you had asked people, they would have said it would be spin-friendly wickets. But with the facilities they have there, I think they can prepare whatever wickets they want.
“I’ve played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi before and some of the wickets have been slow, low turners and others have gone through nice.
“Having spoke to the Nottinghamshire guys who played last year, they said that under lights it was a bit more bowler-friendly at times and it may move around under the floodlights. Hopefully, I will get the chance to bowl in those kinds of conditions.”
Worcestershire are represented twice in the MCC side, led by veteran Surrey batsman Mark Ramprakash, as Moeen Ali’s all-round performances have also been recognised.
Richardson, accompanied in the MCC line-up by experienced faces such as Gareth Batty, Ian Blackwell, Hamish Marshall and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, insists the highly-rated 24-year-old’s selection is justified.
“Moeen has been fantastic, I have known him since he signed for Warwickshire as a 16-year-old,” he said. “He’s a massive talent and he’s growing into the game now, he’s getting better and better every year.”
The four-day match gives the five top-flight players in the MCC side the chance to assess the Red Rose before the start of their championship defence.
Although Lancashire were seen as a surprise package last term, Richardson, who threatened to derail Peter Moores’ side’s title challenge towards the end of the last campaign with figures of 6-22 at New Road, believes they will again be strong thanks to their never-say-die attitude.
“I don’t think they will be much different from last year,” he added.
“They are a strong unit, they have got a lot of good all-round cricketers. If you look at the likes of Tom Smith, Kyle Hogg, Glen Chapple and Steven Croft, they just keep coming at you and they have got four or five guys who can do a really good job with bat and ball.
“They gelled really well last year and whatever situation they were in, they seemed to deal with it. It was fantastic for them, for such a big county to win the championship was massive for the club.”