Jeff Thomson, best known as ”Thommo” made his debut for Australia in the test match on 29 December 1973 against Pakistan. He soon became known as one of the fastest bowlers ever to play Test cricket. His opening partner was the great Dennis Lillee and they were without a doubt the most deadly combination of their time.
Thommo won a fastest bowling contest in 1978 with a quick time of 147.9 ahead of the great West Indian bowler Michael Holding with 141.3 and Imran Khan of Pakistan with 139.7.
In 1975 he was timed using high-speed cameras at a staggering 160.45. The following year he improved his time to 160.78. Fellow team mate Rodney Marsh claimed that Thomson had bowled upwards of 180km. Clive Llyod the West Indian legend, said that “Thomson was the fastest bowler he’d ever seen”.
In the days when Thomson played, there was no protection for the batsman like there is today, so facing a ball bowled by “Thommo” must have been terrifying.
Jeff Thomson came to the fore in 1974–75 with 33 wickets in the Ashes series. Modern protective items for batsmen, specifically helmets, were not available at the time, and there were no restrictions on the use of the bouncer. The success of the Australian cricket team with fast bowling prompted an era when pace bowling dominated the game, at the expense of slow bowling.
Thommo caused controversy when interviewed during the 1974-75 series, when he said “I enjoy hitting a batsman more than getting him out. I like to see blood on the pitch”. The English Team were a little mystified by Thomson in this series, as they had only seen him bowl once during a tour match against Queensland in the same year.
He played his last Test and One Day International games in 1985.
With a strong identity from his exploits as a competitive international sportsman, ‘Thommo’ has built on his public identity through professional coaching, motivational speaking and media commentating. He delivers humorous sporting anecdotes and cricketing stories.