Kane Richardson, vegan cricketer

Making his mark on cricket in his home nation of Australia and abroad, Kane has become a hot property in the exciting short forms of the game.  The right-arm medium-fast bowler has represented his nation in 25 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 21 T20 matches (as of October 2020). He’s also broken into the prestigious Indian Premier League (IPL).

Debuting at age 18 in the Australian Big Bash, he soon afterwards was part of the national under 19 team that won the World Cup.  His international debut followed in the 2012-3 season against Sri Lanka, and shortly afterwards he played in the IPL for two seasons.

Back and hamstring injuries have been a constant issue. Injuries often came during periods of stiff competition for places from a respected crop of successful Australian bowlers.

Known for bowling with pace and aggression, Kane has an accurate Yorker which can make him almost impossible to score against.  At his fearsome best his aggressive pace is almost impossible to play.

Known as an athletic fielder, Kane has ten international T20 catches to his name.   His fitness has also been noted, with his two-kilometre time trial finishing in 6:39. This is one of the best times among Australian national cricketers.

He continues to represent South Australia at domestic level, and in the Australian team, seven years after his debut.  In 2020 he was in the squad selected for the difficult tour of England under COVID-19 restrictions.  He has also joined the IPL again, representing Royal Challengers Bangalore, later turning down the place and the earnings of over $800,000 as his wife was due to give birth.

Vegan

Kane turned vegetarian in 2014 and vegan in 2016.  The move to vegetarian was prompted by a chance encounter with farm animals.

 “We drove past a farm or something and there were some lambs and my partner was like, ‘They actually remind me of our dog.’ From that day on, we stopped eating lamb, and once you make a justification of one thing, it’s like we probably shouldn’t eat beef either, and then it’s pork, fish, chicken. And then you go vegetarian and a natural progression of that is to not eat dairy or eggs either.

“I remember being at Bangalore and I was vegetarian. I think it was a day off and I watched a documentary on Netflix – I think it’s called Conspiracy. My wife watched it and she showed it to me. I got through the tour and then got home and she said, ‘We’re going vegan’.  It wasn’t that big a thing. We were vegetarians for about six months before that.”

In the earlier days of vegetarian, Kane also reflected on sustainability.  “I’ve watched a lot of documentaries on it, and whether it’s right or wrong, I don’t know if that can be sustained the way people are gorging through food,” he said.

Around that time he suffered another back injury, and the positive experience of others seemed to influence his thinking.

“It’s just something I had to change with all the injuries that I had,” he said.

As he’s progressed to full veganism, eating in traditionally vegetarian places like India presented some issues, but luckily help was on hand.

“Obviously in India, being vegetarian is quite an easy thing to do, but [for vegans] it can be a bit of a challenge now, considering most things have cheese or butter or cream, but that’s getting better as well. Virat’s a big hand with that – he always gives out some tips about where to go or even passes on some food or breakfast.”

Kane was referring to Virat Kohli, the leading test batsman of his generation who is reported to be vegan. Kane has also been able to train under one of the most respected bowling coaches in the game. That’s former Australian international Jason Gillespie, who is now vegan.

It has been put to Kane that cricket balls are made of leather, which is of course outside of his control.

At 29 (in 2020) Kane has not played for Australia at Test level, although he clearly remains part of the plans for the game’s shorter formats.  Part of the plans clearly include veganism, and he feels others should think about what they eat.

“If everyone went vegetarian then I’m sure the world would change” he says.  “I think people think it’s such a big thing, but once you do it for a certain period of time, you feel good. I mean, I lost some weight, but I also haven’t been injured since I’ve done it. I’ve definitely got leaner, and I felt like I couldn’t get injured because I wasn’t carrying around weight that I didn’t need. I mean, that’s me personally. I don’t know what Peter Siddle talks about how he felt or how he recovers quicker, and he’s definitely got leaner as well. He’s played a lot of cricket as well.”

While Peter Siddle has retired from international cricket, luckily for Kane, Adam Zampa’s success in the game means there’s likely to be another vegan on tour in future.   

“I don’t think you can do it overnight. It has to be that gradual progression, and having someone like Adam Zampa around helps because there’s two of you to look after each other. We’ve always got snacks and other stuff and we look after each other, so it is quite easy.”

Kane’s Wikipedia page

Kane’s career

Article – vegans in cricket

Article – Kane goes vegetarian

See more vegan cricketers

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