Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Jeff Thomson - My all-time favourite fast bowler.

Jeff Thomson formed half of one of the most terrifying bowling partnerships in the history of cricket. In tandem with Dennis Lillee in the 1970's he was responsible for striking fear into pretty much every batsman who faced him from the crease. They'd be bowled, caught and pummelled as Lilian Thomson's (as the partnership was sometimes usefully, mischievously termed) yorkers and bouncers took out their stumps, toes, ribs and sometimes frontal lobes. Jeff Thomson won the 1979 Fastest Bowler in the World competition, held in Australia, with an average speed of 142km/h. Though Lillee's action was classic and beautiful to watch, Thomson's elasticated slingshot style was thrilling and invigorating to behold. I used to practise imitating him for hours in the nets at school, never once getting a single ball in the same time zone as the stumps. Goodness only knows how he made it work, but I'm glad he did; he might have been an Aussie, he might have put half my country's cricket team in hospital but I loved the sheer animal in his bowling. Have a watch:

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