Jhye Richardson has revealed a “very, very clear” message from national selectors this summer as he plots a long-awaited return to Test cricket.
The WA speedster gave chairman of selectors George Bailey and co something to ponder ahead of next month’s first Ashes Test with a player-of-the-match performance in WA’s dominant seven-wicket Sheffield Shield win over Queensland at the Gabba.
WA completed the win with two sessions left on the final day of a rain-affected clash to jump to top of the table, chasing 95 with relative ease despite losing a few top-order wickets.
Richardson finished with 5-23 from 22.2 overs in the second innings, including 13 maidens, getting Michael Neser (five), caught behind by Josh Philippe third over of the final day to cap a stellar match that included three first-innings wickets and a quickfire 35.
The 25-year-old was the stand-out on day three, getting rid of Queensland’s top-three batters – Bryce Street (six), Joe Burns (49) and Marnus Labuschagne (36).
The Fremantle product made his Test debut in Brisbane a little under three years ago against Sri Lanka, playing both games that series, but hasn’t been seen at the level since with shoulder issues limiting his availability.
After a two-year first-class absence, the whippy right-armer has played three consecutive Shield matches, taking 16 wickets at an average of 12.5 including match figures of 8-61 against the Bulls.
Barring injury, the Australian pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins appears locked in ahead of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba, starting December 8.
But Richardson could well be next in line with Victorian firebrand James Pattinson retiring from international cricket and Queensland seamer Michael Neser going down with a hamstring injury on day one of the WA-v-Queensland clash.
Luckless WA left-arm seamer Joel Paris was pressing his case before yet another injury setback, with his bowling duties ending for the match midway through the first innings with a left hamstring issue.
“The message was very, very clear and that was to come home and make sure that I can string a few games together,” Richardson told ABC Grandstand.
“Again with the shoulder and a few setbacks and stuff like that, it was just about playing the longer format again and for me to get back to Test cricket is a goal as well.
“To be able to come back and bowl the overs that I have done relatively unscathed I think is really positive moving forward.
“Not only for the Ashes, because we know that’s coming up, but again looking forward immediately to the (Shield) game in Tassie (from November 21).”
Queensland captain Usman Khawaja was full of praise for Richardson post-match after his bowling heroics.
“He bowled beautifully this game,” Khawaja said.
“He’s got excellent skills. I’m a big Jhye Richardson fan, he’s been doing it for a long period of time and it’s nice to see him fit and healthy.”