Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Legendary Australia pace bowler Jeff Thompson and wicketkeeper-batsman Wally Grout will be inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame at the Allan Border Medal night in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Thompson is renowned for being one of the most lethal fast bowlers Australia ever produced and for forming a deadly bowling partnership with Dennis Lillee during the 1970s.
Thompson, who represented Australia in 51 Test matches, took 200 wickets at an average of 28.
“It’s for my wife and kids, my parents, my brothers, my mates, all those people who took me to cricket when I was young and helped me along the way,” Thompson said. “I got a ring from a mate of my brother’s who I hadn’t spoken to for 30 years. He was rapt and said how weird it was for a bunch of kids who used to play cricket for hours against a telephone pole that one of us was now in the Hall of Fame.”
Australian Cricket Hall of Fame chairman David Crow added: “Only a handful of Australian cricketers had taken 200 Test wickets and Jeff did it at a strike rate of almost four wickets a Test, which is exceptional. But of course he was most famous for his pace and outright aggression, and it is was these qualities that people came to see when he played. He was a major drawcard for Australian cricket.”
Grout also played 51 Tests for Australia and claimed 163 catches, while also stumping 24 batsmen. He also scored three half-centuries, with his highest score being 74. However, less than three years after playing his last Test match, Grout tragically passed away at the age of 41 as a result of a heart attack.
“Wally Grout was one of Australia’s finest wicketkeepers,” Crow said. “Luminaries such as Bob Simpson and Wes Hall claimed he was the finest gloveman they had ever seen. Wally Grout was the first player in Test history to claim six dismissals in an innings and that remains an Australian record which has since been matched by Rod Marsh, Ian Healy and Adam Gilchrist.
“Wally also set the record for the most catches taken in a Sheffield Shield innings, eight, which is now held jointly with Darren Berry. But Wally’s contribution went beyond immaculate wicketkeeping. He was highly regarded for his honesty, integrity and sense of humour. As captain, Richie Benaud relied on Wally for the team’s strategy because of his great understanding of the game.”