Worcestershire seamer Alan Richardson has added one of cricket’s most coveted awards to his motley collection of cricket trophies.
Richardson is one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year, a just reward for his 73 wickets last season which helped to save Worcestershire from relegation.
The 37-year-old will be in London tonight to collect a special leatherbound copy of the famous Almanack which will take pride of place on his mantelpiece.
“It’s a massive honour,” Richardson said. “Thinking back over my career I haven’t won many awards. I think I might have got Player of the Month for May when I was with Middlesex back in 2005, I probably got Warwickshire’s Second XI Player of the Year Award when I was there and then there was the Little Stoke Under-18 Award way back when.”
Richardson’s self-depreciating humour is typical of a player who has battled away uncomplainingly for nearly 20 years. He was released by Derbyshire in 1995 after just one first team game when he was 13th in a long list of seam bowlers at the county.
He spent three years playing league cricket and for Staffordshire in the Minor Counties Championship while working as a landscape gardener and manufacturing golf spikes to help pay the bills.
Warwickshire gave him a second chance in first-class cricket but Richardson was allowed to leave Edgbaston with a year remaining on his contract the day after they had won the County Championship in 2004.
He moved on to Middlesex where he again showed hints of promise but Richardson has been at his best since he joined Worcestershire in 2010. The county have used him intelligently, resting him for the majority of one-day and Twenty20 matches, and Richardson has responded by leading their attack splendidly.
“My days of trying to play for England are long gone so this makes this award even more special,” he said.
“You only need to look at the players that have been Wisden Cricketers of the Year before and the other four this year – Glen Chapple, Tim Bresnan, Alastair Cook and Kumar Sangakkara – to appreciate that.
“There are other guys around who have taken more first-class wickets than me, so it’s something that I didn’t expect.
“But I have had two very happy seasons since I came to Worcestershire and last year was my best by a long way. It’s nice to be recognised for that and also for the hard work that I have put in over the years.”