His favourite NBA player is Houston Rockets guard James Harden. Plying his trade in a league which mirrors the US franchise, it is no surprise Kane Richardson too has discovered the joy of facial hair like his hero.
The Rajasthan Royals seamer is not among the leading lights from Australia in the IPL, but stands out because of his thick beard. In Abu Dhabi, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, he dismissed Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers with his first two deliveries and the giant screen flashed, ‘Fear the Beard’.
The attention has put Richardson, with just a solitary ODI to his name, at least for the moment in the league of Mitchell Johnson, Ravindra Jadeja and Shikhar Dhawan, the moustachioed men.
“I have a mate back home who started growing it in October…I followed in his footsteps,” says the 23-year-old.
Many foreign players grow a beard while playing in the sub-continent to protect them from the harsh sun. “It’s also a bit of fun, I save a bit of money on shaving products,” he laughs.
There have been some friendly taunts. “My passport photo is clean-shaven. I am a little worried because a lot of the boys say it looks fake because of the colour difference between my hair and beard. They think I have either used a dye or it has just stuck on. It might be an issue going home. I might be stuck in India for a while!”
Appreciating the affection of the fans, Richardson has started tending the beard. “I use oil as well, it moisturises the skin underneath. It’s easier not to have one, you don’t want to look too shaggy, too hairy. It’s hardwork.”
Fans used to confusing him with New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson — he even had to change his twitter handle — have warmed up. So, no identity issues at least till the beard is on.