Jeffrey Robert Thomson
August 16, 1950, Greenacre, Sydney, New South Wales
Right hand bat
Right arm fast
Jeff Thomson was one of the fastest bowlers to have played Test cricket. With an unusual slinging action, and an aggressive approach, he was a fearsome sight to batsmen. He debuted against Pakistan in 1972-73, but hampered by a broken bone in his foot (which he hid from the selectors) was ineffective. Recalled in 1974-5, and forming a partnership with Dennis Lillee, he terrorised the England tourists with consistent spells of extreme fast bowling, taking 33 wickets in
the series. His action put considerable stress on his body, particularly his right shoulder, and he was rarely fit enough to reach those peaks again. He adapted his methods, relying less on pure pace, and more on an excellent cutter, and seam and swing. He was always capable of unleashing a very fast bouncer that
would skid and follow the batsman from only just short of a length. He remained with the Australian side when many left to join the Packer circus in 1977, and carried their attack through two series against England and India, but left to join WSC shortly afterwards. A capable fielder, and a lower order batsman
who could hit, he was frequently heard on radio commentary during the 1997 Ashes series.
Jeff Thomson's run to the wicket was undertaken at the pace of man jogging around the block, but his action was one of cricket's most explosive; tilting back in the style of a javelin thrower, he catapulted the ball at speeds seldom, if ever, attained since. He was also naturally fit, and as much a threat with old ball as new. Too hot for England in 1974-75 and West Indies the following season, a shoulder injury sustained in an on-field collision at Adelaide in November 1976 restricted him thereafter. But his psychological presence remained valuable, and he reached 200 Test wickets on his last Ashes tour in 1985. Lillee and Thomson remain a combination to conjure with, as sinister in England as Burke and Hare, or Bismarck and Tirpitz.
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