By Rob George 13/04 Updated: 13/04 11:06
WORCESTERSHIRE bowler Alan Richardson has been honoured for his remarkable wicket-taking exploits last season by being named as one of Wisden's five Cricketers of the Year.
The 36-year-old has been handed the prestigious title alongside England players Alastair Cook and Tim Bresnan, Lancashire's Championship-winning captain Glen Chapple and Sri Lankan star Kumar Sangakkara.
Richardson is the 16th Worcestershire player to be named as Cricketer of the Year by the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack which is published on Thursday (April 12).
The fast-medium bowler took 73 first class wickets last season to finish as leading wicket-taker in Division One in the LV= County Championship.
He joins Pears greats Basil D'Oliveira, Neal Radford, Graeme Hick, Phil Neale and current director of cricket Steve Rhodes on the list of Worcestershire players to be honoured.
The five Cricketers of the Year are chosen by the editor of Wisden and represent a tradition that dates back to 1889, making it the oldest individual award in cricket.
Excellence in, or influence on the previous English summer are the major criteria for inclusion as a Cricketer of the Year.
No one can be chosen more than once in their career.
Richardson said: "To be recognised alongside world-class cricketers such as Alastair Cook, Tim Bresnan, Glen Chapple and Kumar Sangakkara is a real honour not to mention the 15 previous Worcestershire players.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my cricket over the last two seasons and hope to carry on performing at my best for Worcestershire for as long as I can."
The former Middlesex and Warwickshire seamer's exploits with the ball were one of the main reasons Worcestershire preserved their Division One status.
And while Richardson admits it is going to be hard to match last summer's haul he is just enjoying every minute of a golden period in his career.
"I don't look at it and think I have to get more wickets than last year, because that's a daunting prospect. I just want to stay on the park and enjoy it and be part of a side that plays really good cricket," he said.
"Since I moved from Warwickshire I think I have played some of the best cricket I have ever played. I think that has been down to a combination of some good wickets for me to bowl on and bowling more overs than I have ever bowled before."
Wisden editor Lawrence Booth says: "Alan Richardson, the definitive unsung hero, almost singlehandedly saved Worcestershire from relegation, taking 73 Division One wickets with his relentless fast-medium and bowling more overs than
anyone in the country bar Monty Panesar."
He is profiled in the 149th edition of the almanack by cricket writer George Dobell who writes: "Richardson is an unlikely
Cricketer of the Year.
"He is not blessed with great pace (he's consistently timed at around 83mph), he doesn't swing the ball prodigiously and he
rarely uses the bouncer, yorker or slower ball.
"He has an angular, inefficient action - a windmill, he calls it - that leaves biomechanists wincing.
"But he does hit the seam. He does generate steep bounce from his high action. And he does maintain a wonderfully nagging line and length. Crucially, by 2011, he had learned to move the ball both ways off the seam."
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