November 28, 2009

A visit from Thommo

Andrew Hughes


Thommo: If you ask him nicely, he'll rip your tongue out for you © Getty Images
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I was resting in the tea room yesterday afternoon, savouring a slow-sipping amontillado and watching the November rain lash down onto the herbaceous borders when I was surprised to hear a heavy rapping on my front door; surprised because my pack of Japanese fighting dogs usually intercept any visitor long before they attain the sanctuary of the portico.

I was even more surprised to see Jeff Thomson standing on my doorstep, holding a World Series Umbrella and a bulging plastic carrier bag.

“G’day, yer Pommie bastard,” he greeted me, “Can I use yer fax machine?”

Since I had only last week allowed Rodney Hogg to avail himself of my hedge trimmer, I felt obliged to extend the Hughes hospitality to his hairy compatriot. Before long, I heard the soothing whirr and beep of the facsimile device, punctuated by a choice selection of ripe Australian expletives.

“Sherry?” I asked, when he was done. Propriety forbids me from repeating his reply here, but you can be assured that he left me in no doubt as to his opinion on the merits of fortified wine and its implications for the sexual preferences of the imbiber. As he left, I tried to warn him about the pack of slavering beasts that was sure to descend upon him, but in the event, I need not have worried for his safety. Later that evening I found them cowering and whimpering behind the livery stables.

But to the gist. As he left, a solitary sheet of paper became dislodged from his carrier bag and drifted onto the marble floor. When I picked it up, I found that I held in my hand a single page from the minutes of the latest meeting of the FBU, the Fast Bowlers Union. In the interests of freedom of information, I feel duty bound to publish the entire contents of page two for your perusal:

“…tore his arm off and had a good laugh about it in the dressing room afterwards.

Apologies Mr Edwards is unable to be with us as his bruised fingernail is a lot more serious than first thought. I understand that he also sustained a nasty paper cut when trying to open his Deccan Chargers pay packet. I’m sure we all wish him a speedy recovery.

Appointments We are delighted to announce the re-election of Mr Sreesanth to the top table (applause). Previously a strike bowler only in the sense that we all wanted to strike him (thanks to Mr Kirsten for that joke), he has recently managed to take some wickets without doing anything silly. Thanks go to Mr Dravid for the hypnosis sessions, to Mr H Singh for the slaps and to Mr Patel and Mr Nehra for stepping aside so graciously.

Injuries Mr Lee wished me to pass on my thanks for the flowers and chocolates. He has undergone emergency teeth-whitening treatment and his dentist believes that his smile should soon be back to normal. So a reminder to everyone to remember their shades next time, and I will also be writing to Mr Lee, reiterating our rule on bringing guitars to committee meetings.

Awards It’s that time of the year again when we reveal our ‘Snarler of the Year’. It has been a good year for snarling, although several entrants had to be disqualified for excessive smiling on the field of play. And a reminder to you all for next year that a grimace because you’ve put your back out again does NOT count as a snarl.

I’m pleased to announce that this year’s award goes to Mr Siddle for his sterling work in Cardiff. The judges were impressed not just with the extent of his snarl and growl work, but also the high volume of spittle deposited onto the pitch, the umpire and Simon Katich at short leg. Well done, Sid; a worthy winner, I think you’ll agree.

Charitable Causes Mr Akhtar has once again been leading by example. His concern for the plight of penniless cosmetic surgeons has led him to voluntarily undergo the knife-and-vacuum-cleaner procedure, rather than just going for a bit of a jog of a morning. I think we can all applaud such selfless dedication.

Unfortunately, our ‘Radar’ appeal has stalled a little of late. I know there’s a recession on but can I ask all of you to dig deep and redouble your fund-raising efforts so that sufferers like little Mitch can get the treatment they need for their unfortunate problem. Thanks in this regard to Mr Steyn for his ‘sponsored choke’. It didn’t raise any money, but it did give us all a good chuckle and helped to raise morale…”

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by David Hoveman on (December 2, 2009, 19:48 GMT)

Had the please of witnessing Joel Garner play for Glastonbury once on a lumpy bumpy west country wicket. The sort even i could get lift on. Did however give you a feel for how quick real quickmen are, in a real time blurry sense.

Posted by A Natu on (December 1, 2009, 21:43 GMT)

You left out the note scribbled at the top of page 2 --

"Received a phone call right before the meeting from a Mr. Holding. He has said "Thanks but no thanks for the invitation to the FBU. Real fast bowlers do not talk. They drink beer and tear batters' hearts out. While they're alive." He has also reminded to watch for any whispers in the room, for death may be lurking."

Posted by Tushar on (December 1, 2009, 20:01 GMT)

Thommo, I just saw COLIN COWDREY Turn in his grave~!!!!!. keep up the good work.Without you and Lillee Test cricket would have been long dead.

Posted by Jaideep Desai on (December 1, 2009, 15:30 GMT)

I too am a fan of fast bowler and have no idea why we have to feel so much for Thommo who sounds like a loud mouth who's abnoxious and rude. Patronizing to that kind of aggression in my mind is simply foolish. So much of the Aussie and for that matter English character has to with their genetics - crude Anglo-Saxon's of the middle ages. Have they really civilized?

Posted by Zorax on (December 1, 2009, 7:32 GMT)

Haha, brilliant!

Posted by Ravi Janakiraman on (November 29, 2009, 5:40 GMT)

Fantastic Article!

Thommo was a man who wore his heart on his sleeve. He not only instilled mortal fear in the hearts of the bastsmen he bowled to, but also loads of respect. This one is for keeps

Posted by Tyrone on (November 29, 2009, 4:25 GMT)

I am a former fast bowler now living in New York. This should also be included in the minutes:choice words to direct to fielders who grass catches on very hot days.

Posted by Chamila Kannangara on (November 29, 2009, 1:04 GMT)

As a 18 year old fast bowler with Jeff Thompson as my hero, I feel sad that these days, its not the same brave cricket it used to be back then... Now, I can only read about them and if lucky watch rare footage of those glory days...

I wish I was alive back then... I can't help but feel sad for the state cricket is at the moment... Tests declining only because of the pack of money hungry businessman in suites who only care for their short term gains and has no interest for cricket at heart at all... It hurts me because I am such a passionate fan of cricket. I only hope for the best in the future for cricket...

Posted by BILLI on (November 28, 2009, 16:26 GMT)

Fab Memories came flowing back into my mind. Those were the days when we had true manly cricketers..D K Lillee, Thommo, Ian Chappell, Rod, Sir VIV,Kalli, etc.. Cricket was so much fun those days. less of protective gear and true manly contests. So many quicks and so many fab stroke players with less protection gear. Those days are gone ........for ever.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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