LILLEE & THOMMO
THE DEADLY PAIR’ S REIGN OF TERROR BY IAN B RAY SHAW, HARD IE GRANT ,§.
The mention of the old firm still sends a shiver into English fans, which is not unwelcome ahead of another Ashes series. If the fast bowler is an historic emblem of Aussie masculinity, from Spofforth on down, consider the pairing of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson as its highest form – one whose fear factor lasts into the present day. This book gets into the detail of Lillee and Thommo’s double act, and the best aspect of it is the cricketing contemporaries that speak to Brayshaw, himself a player of note. We hear from their team-mates; more interesting are the opponents, including those poor Englishmen at the other end such as Dennis Amiss.
The other interesting aspect of the book: Lillee and Thomson, who played a total of 120 Tests for Australia, were only together for 26 of them (another five, if counting World Series). As gruelling as fast bowling can be, there were regular periods when either was out of the side. But that, perhaps, is the telling thing about the genuine fear they created – it was bigger in the imagination than any set of records.