WA pace ace Jhye Richardson says he will focus on playing consecutive Sheffield Shield games before getting carried away thinking about a potential Ashes call-up.
Richardson’s first Shield game in almost two years was a topsy-turvy affair, with the 25-year-old forced to sit out the middle two days of the three-wicket loss to Tasmania after suffering a painful back spasm during the warm-up on day two.
The right-arm speedster posted scores of 34 and 50 with the bat, and returned figures of 1-5 and 2-37 with the ball either side of the back spasm.
Richardson made a stunning entrance to the Test arena in early 2019, but persistent problems with his right shoulder has forced him onto the sidelines for large periods since then.
Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood are a lock for the three frontline Ashes pace slots, but just who their back-up will be remains to be seen.
Pace quartet Richardson, Michael Neser, Sean Abbott, and Mark Steketee are all vying to be part of the Ashes squad.
Richardson would love to be part of the Ashes, but for now he’s focusing on getting through a chunk of Shield games, with WA back in action against South Australia at the WACA Ground next week.
“I need to just concentrate on the games coming up, because if I don’t perform, then I’m not going to get picked anyway,” Richardson said.
“So having fun out there and getting back into the swing of things is the focus at the moment, and just putting consecutive games together … without having another unlucky hiccup.”
Richardson said his back spasm came in innocuous fashion.
“It was literally just walking back to my mark, and it just seized up and I couldn’t move,” he said.
“I was downstairs for a couple of hours on the bed not really moving and looking pretty sad, but thankfully I could get back out there.
“It’s happened before in juniors, but not any time recently. This was the worst one I’ve had.”
Former Test star Peter Siddle, who snared 5-40 for Tasmania in WA’s second innings, said it was sad to see paceman James Pattinson announce his international retirement on Wednesday.
“He’s like a little brother to me,” Siddle said.
“It’s sad he’s pulled it early, but the body sometimes catches up with you.
“Hopefully he can get over the little niggle he’s got at the moment and get back out on the field, because he’s one of the most exciting players when he’s up and going.”