Thommo tells Aussie selectors to stick with speed
Jeff Thomson walked on stage at Melbourne’s Crown Casino dressed a little like a clown. The Australia pace-bowling great wore a bright pink shirt, black pants, black tie and cream jacket, with his trademark mop of white hair hanging over his shoulders.
Aged 60, there was no chance the 51-Test veteran would be anything but blunt on stage at the Cricket Victoria luncheon; especially when the topic was England’s batsmen.
Thomson had some strong words of advice for Australia’s selectors ahead of the fourth Ashes Test starting at the MCG on Sunday.
“Don’t worry about a spinner. Just keep the quicks,” he said on Wednesday.
“I think we can frighten the shit out of those blokes.”
Thommo’s views on Pommie batsmen have been obvious since the 1974-75 series when a 41-year-old English gentleman called Colin Cowdrey introduced himself to the fiery Aussie quick during a Test match.
“He said `Jeff Thomson, I’ve been dying to meet you’,” Thommo recalled, adding he promptly told Cowdrey to get lost, or something a little stronger.
Former England batsman David Lloyd, who suffered a shocking blow to the groin thanks to a Thommo thunderbolt in the 1974-75 series, shared the stage with his tormentor on Wednesday.
Several hundred guests laughed as grainy video footage showed Lloyd sinking to the turf in agony.
Lloyd, dressed in a short-sleeved shirt and a tie, tried to get some of his own back by mocking Thommo’s attire on Wednesday.
“You look like a bag of shit,” Thommo responded.
Thommo typically was supportive of the Australian side amid criticism over sledging incidents arising from last week’s third Test in Perth.
“It’s all part and parcel of the game,” Thommo said.
“You are just trying to upset the guy’s concentration.
“You’re out there for six hours, you get bored shitless.
“You’ve got to say something.”
Thommo paid tribute to Australia opener Shane Watson, saying he had been a strong critic of the all-rounder a few years ago but Watson had proved him wrong.
“I bagged him. He’s lifted his game, Watson has been fantastic,” Thommo said.
Looking like an ageing rock star, Thommo said Mike Hussey’s old-fashioned approach was the key to making big scores against England.
“He keeps the good balls out and he hits the shit balls. Hussey plays old-style cricket,” Thommo thundered.
Famous for his raw pace in the 1970s, Thommo was asked about reports that his 160 km/h bowling had been re-examined and estimated to be closer to 170 km/h.
“They came out pretty quick. I hit a lot of sightscreens on the full,” he said.
“I wanted to be the quickest and scare shit out of everybody and I think I achieved that.”© AAP 2013