Dominic John Thornely
October 01, 1978, Albury, New South Wales
Right hand bat
Right arm medium, Right arm offbreak
Top order batter
Dominic Thornely was discussed as a possible Test player for the 2005 Ashes following a dramatic season of 1065 first-class runs, four centuries, five fifties and an average of 62.65. New South Wales needed someone to attempt to fill the massive holes left by the Waugh brothers, Michael Slater and Michael Bevan, who departed for retirement or Tasmania the previous off-season, and Thornely stepped in with aggressive responsibility to be a crucial factor in the Pura Cup-winning campaign. The highlight of the starry-eyed season was undoubtedly the 261 against Western Australia at the SCG and beating David Hookes' record for first-class sixes with 11. The innings also included a barely believable 219-run stand for the last wicket with Stuart MacGill, who scored 27 as they turned from trouble to triumph.
Nicknamed "The Dominator", Thornely can also defend when necessary, but he is at his best when driving, cutting and pulling boundaries. His next season was not as loud, although he still managed a highly credible 698 runs at 45.87 with a century against Tasmania. Another solid effort in 2006-07 brought 801 runs at 42.15 and he had the dubious honour of being stand-in captain as the Blues crashed to their lowest Pura Cup score of 53 against Tasmania. However, Thornely led the second-innings fightback with 138 and was also one of his side's better contributors in the lost final. In the following campaign he gained more responsibility and collected 551 runs and 11 wickets before more leadership opportunities came in 2008-09 with the international absences of Simon Katich and Brad Haddin. It was a tough year for the team - the Blues were last in the Sheffield Shield - but Thornely performed strongly, registering 680 first-class runs at 42.50, impressing in the FR Cup, and chipping in with the ball.
Rod Marsh, the then Academy director, said Thornely was one of the best graduates of the institution and recommended him for the state team aged 17. However, he did not make his debut until 25 and was working at the management company that looks after Brett Lee when asked to become a Blue. He made an early impression by compiling 143 against Victoria at Newcastle and earned Australia A selection in his first season. A superb catcher and handy medium pacer, Thornely is suited to the limited-overs game, but his major gains have come in the first-class arena. An overseas assignment at Surrey in 2005 placed him geographically close to the Test team without international reward, and he returned to England in 2006 for a stint with Hampshire. In 2008 he joined the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, playing six games for a squad which included Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya.
Peter English May 2009
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