“I have nothing to lose” – Dale Richards of Barbados: Digicel Cricket Update

Dale Richards - Randy Brooks photo and DigicelCricket.com

Dale Richards - Randy Brooks photo and DigicelCricket.com

Recalled opening batsman, Barbadian Dale Richards, says that he views his latest opportunity with the West Indies Test side as a case of “nothing to lose”.

Speaking with the media prior to the Windies training session at Kensington Oval – where the Third Digicel Test will commence on Saturday – Richards said that at his stage of his career he is not taking on pressures he experienced when he was younger.

I only have two Test matches under my belt but at the end of the day, at 33 years old there is nothing to lose. It’s just about getting out there and doing my bits,” said Richards who will celebrate his 34th birthday next month.

Being one of only two specialist openers in the Windies 13 man squad, Richards is expected to open the innings against South Africa along with Captain Chris Gayle. Richards was brought in to the squad in place of Guyanese opener, Travis Dowlin, who had three successive failures in the First and Second Digicel Tests in Trinidad and St Kitts. South Africa lead the three Test Series 1-0.

Richards feels that there are advantages to a batsman commencing his international career in their thirties.

A lot of people write off a lot of guys at 30 but I think when you get to that age, you understand batting more. I don’t go in the game with any sort of pressure,” Richards explained.

Richards was a late addition to the Windies One Day International squad and had scores of 51, 28, 59 and 19 as he brought some stability to the top order in the absence of rookie opener, Adrian Barath, who is on the injured list.

Dale Richards goes down on one knee and pulls during his 59 - Randy Brooks photo and DigicelCricket.com

Dale Richards goes down on one knee and pulls during his 59 - Randy Brooks photo and DigicelCricket.com

In the four Digicel ODIs Richards scored 157 runs at an average of 39.25. Some fallibility to deliveries pitched just outside off stump – which resulted in Richards being caught in the slips in the Digicel ODI Series – more than likely caused his initial omission from the Test squad.

However with Dowlin recording scores of 4, 1 and 10 in three innings, Richards has been recalled and is relishing the thought of being so close to fulfilling his childhood dream of playing in front his home crowd at the revered Kensington Oval. Richards said he will not abandon his style of play though.

In the Digicel One Day Series I backed myself and batted positively. This is Test cricket so I need to spend some time at the top of the order along with Chris, but I think we should come out and play some very positive cricket. Some positive cricket will really help the people in the Caribbean,” opined Richards who is known throughout the region as an aggressive stroke maker.

Richards played two Tests for the West Indies in the Digicel Series 2009 against Bangladesh as part of the replacement squad when the first choice players withdrew their services. He has also featured in eight ODIs.

Previously the right hander was selected to debut and open the batting alongside Gayle in the Digicel Test Series against England in 2009, but suffered a foot injury on the eve of the First Digicel Test and was replaced. Grenadian left hander, Devon Smith, opened the innings instead.

When Richards did get an opportunity to wear the Windies whites – against Bangladesh – because of his age and regional experience he was viewed as a senior player and the batting rested heavily on a major contribution from him. If he does play against South Africa at Kensington on Saturday he is likely to feel more at ease with Gayle as his partner and the likes of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Brendan Nash, Narsingh Deonarine and Dwayne Bravo in the middle order.

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