A day in the life of Mark Richardson, former Black Cap and broadcaster
Each week, we ask a high-profile New Zealander to share a photo memory. The AM Show sports presenter Mark Richardson races Australian cricket team coach Darren Lehmann on day five of the second test between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval, November 30, 2004. It was his last test match for his country. Australia won the match by 213 runs. Richardson won the race.
I was a very slow runner and a very poor fieldsman.
The blokes thought it'd be funny if, at the end of each series, I took on a member of the opposition in a 100m race. They'd take bets on it. It turned into a bit of a tradition. Then the Beige Brigade guys – the New Zealand cricket supporters – found me a sprinting suit, so I started wearing that.
A lot of people in the crowd stayed around for it and they showed it on TV. This stupid race with me in a stupid outfit, and Darren Lehmann in a stupid outfit.
He's wearing his T-shirt because his mum said she'd disown him if he didn't. I cringe every time I see it. I remember afterwards thinking well, it's a little sad this will be the only thing I'm really known for in Australia.
The Adelaide Oval is an historic part of Australian cricket, the home of the great Sir Don Bradman, considered the greatest batsman of all time. I feel in a way, me and Lehmann desecrated the ground, doing what we did. So I apologise to the good people of South Australia for that
I did about five or six races in total. I won this one. I would've taken about 14 seconds – I was pretty slow. My nickname, Rigor, was short for rigor mortis because I had the agility of a dead man. Lehmann wasn't the fittest of guys, to tell you the truth. He enjoyed a beer or two throughout his career.
Being a bit of a clown was how I sort of dealt with the pressure of playing at that level. I tended to laugh with people who were laughing at me.
There are numerous videos floating around on YouTube of me being a dickhead. Because of that side of my personality, I got opportunities post-cricket in media and broadcasting.
It only really became my last game mid-way through the game. I'd had a good series before that in England and then had a decent break and came back to the game. And my heart wasn't really in it.
We played against Bangladesh and it had been disappointing. We went to Australia and they had a really good bowling attack and after flailing in the first innings, I can remember on about the second day I just thought, 'Bugger it.'
I rung up Stephen Fleming who was the captain at the time and said, 'Can you meet me at the bar?'
I said, 'Mate, I'm going to stop at the end of this test.'
He knew I was going through a rough time form- wise and was trying to convince me that was all it was, and just to ride it out. I'd never really had that – I started late on the New Zealand side and I'd been quite consistent. I knew at my age I didn't have the energy to talk myself out of it. I was 33.
The longer you're out of the game, I think you value what you achieved in it. Australia was sort of the proving ground for New Zealand cricketers, and I let myself down. That still irks me. But I look back and I think, you know what, I'm bloody lucky.
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