Henry Thornton wants to bowl fast like Brett Lee all the time.
Adelaide Strikers quick Henry Thornton will never forget the day he turned 26. What’s that? In a game that made headlines all over the world, Sydney Thunder beat them for 15 all out with a remarkable 5 for 3 against them.
“It was amazing and weird to be there. I’ve never done that well bowling in my own yard “What Thornton said
Thornton threw full-length fast balls with the same kind of bite that his hero Brett Lee used to use. The Thunder batters were so scared that all they could do was poke them behind the wicket.
Many people saw Thornton for the first time when they rushed to watch the highlights. He has blonde hair, hits the field hard, and moves quickly toward the stumps.
“I try to go faster than 140kmph all the time. You might get runs, but you could also get wickets and wipe out an entire team.” Thornton, who honors Lee by wearing his number 58, said.
“Speed is king. That’s what I’ve always thought. I’m different from other bowlers because I bowl quickly.”
Even though he hasn’t done as well since then, Thornton was the second-best wicket-taker in the BBL in the middle of the season.
People thought Thornton would reach those heights a long time ago, when he moved quickly through the junior ranks and played for Australia at the Under-19 level.
He played his first BBL game for the Sydney Sixers against the Brisbane Heat when he was 20 years old. He got rid of Jimmy Peirson for his first wicket, but he also let them score 40 runs, so he didn’t play for them again.
“When I was very young, I was thrown into it. I didn’t think I was ready at the time, “Thornton thought about the first BBL game he ever played.
But his obvious raw talent got him a contract with NSW, even though he couldn’t play because of back injuries. He was finally taken off the team at the end of the 2018-19 domestic season.
“I felt like all I needed was a chance, but I wasn’t getting it,” Thornton said. “I always thought I was good enough and had the right skills, but I wasn’t in the system. I almost turned off the power “.
Thornton didn’t give up on everything. Instead, he kept playing grade cricket in Sydney until he realized he needed to move to get his career back on track.
So, he went south to Melbourne and joined the famous St. Kilda cricket club. This is where many Victorian state cricketers get their start.
Simon O’Brien, who had been a quick for a long time, showed him how to do things better when time was running out. Adam Crosthwaite, who was captain of Victoria in the 2000s, taught him how to set fields.
In 2020-21, he had a great premier club season, taking 36 wickets at an average of 14.42. Thornton said, “I probably should have been fired from NSW, since it was the best thing that could have happened to me.” “I had to step away from the canvas and figure out how to paint.”
But even though he was a star for St. Kilda, no BBL teams were interested in him, and no team picked him up before the 2021-22 season.
“In premier or grade cricket, there are a lot of players who should get a chance but don’t because they are missed or slip through the cracks,” he said. “Just because you’re not part of a system doesn’t mean you’re not good enough.”
Tim Nielsen, the boss of the Strikers, called Thornton out of the blue while he was on vacation in Sorrento, a beautiful coastal town in Victoria, late in 2021. Nielsen was looking for a fast bowler to fill in. Thornton was on vacation at the time. He was in Sorrento.
“I knew it was a great chance,” he said. “I thought it would be great if I could play one game and bowl quickly. I was just trying to find a chance.”
Five years after his only BBL game, Thornton felt ready and able to play out in the middle. Thornton took 13 wickets at a rate of $15.92 in seven matches. This made him a regular player and a key part of the Strikers’ late-season comeback. This made him feel good about himself.
Thornton became a strike weapon in the Strikers’ strong attack, and he was often used during the powerplay or when a wicket was needed. Thornton was picked to bowl the last ball in Strikers’ heartbreaking loss to Sixers on the last ball, when a spot in the grand final was at stake. He was getting more and more important.
“My partner and I sat down when the season was over and couldn’t believe what had just happened. “It was all a blur,” he said. “I thought I was better at what I did than when I started. Even though I’m still not where I want to be, I felt better.”
Thornton’s luck kept getting better when he was named Victoria’s Marsh Cup 50-over player of the season. He was sad when Victoria didn’t give him a state contract, but his sadness didn’t last long because the top people in South Australia called him again.
Thornton said, “I didn’t think I’d be taken off the list and then put back on it.” “It was South Australia’s reward for all the hard work they had done. We’ve been through a lot.”
South Australia/Strikers head coach Jason Gillespie had never seen Thornton bowl live before last year’s BBL, but he was impressed by his ability to keep going even when things didn’t go his way. He also noticed that Thornton’s career was full of injuries, just like his own.
“I knew he had ups and downs after his quick rise to fame,” Gillespie said. “When you’re young, you want everything. I know how you feel.
“He had ideas about where he wanted to be in his own mind. He had to change how he thought and give his body time to get better. Then he moved to Melbourne after thinking about himself. He is about to start the best part of his career, and we think he could be a player for a long time.
Thornton has been helped by Gillespie’s belief in being honest. Thornton said, “The advice has been simple: be clear about what you want to do and tell the captain.” “My plans are simple: I’ll try to bowl as fast as I can and hit the stumps. On the team, this is what I do. It’s about having faith and being free to play.
Thornton’s main focus is on the BBL, but he still wants to play in a first-class match at some point. He was in the running for South Australia for the first half of the Sheffield Shield season.
Gillespie said, “Someone who can bowl at 145 km/h can be a big help. We’ve seen how devastating he can be.” ” He will need to work on his different bowling styles so that he can bowl well in all kinds of weather and on all kinds of surfaces.
“We take care not to overcook him. South Australia has nine seamers, but he is always talked about for their Shield team.”
All of that is still to come, but Thornton’s magical 26th birthday will always be something to look forward to.
“I doubt it will happen to me again at work. Something I’ll like to remember when I’m done with my work, “he said. “This year has been crazy. I just try to play every game like it’s the last.”
De Zorzi now has a chance to become the star he has always wanted to be.
Tony de Zorzi returned to the Wanderers eight years after he was captain of King Edwards VII, one of Johannesburg’s best schools, and seven years after he led South Africa’s Under-19 team to a World Cup where they were the defending champions but finished in 11th place. He found friends he didn’t know he had.
There were a few of my friends here, and it’s always nice to have my mum watching,” de Zorzi said. “Some people said they were my friends, but I’ve never met them.”
Natasha raised de Zorzi on her own, and he has always wanted to be the best he could be for her. She doesn’t watch him play much anymore because he took the long way to become an international cricket player. He went to the same school as Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith, then to Pretoria, and finally to Cape Town, which is 1400 kilometres away from where he grew up. In a way, it was good for de Zorzi to play his first Test match on the Highveld and get his first fifty while Natasha was watching.
He said, “She always sits in the same spot, so I knew where she was.” “Since I’m in Cape Town, she hasn’t been able to watch many games. I hope I can get three figures the next time she comes.”
De Zorzi has set high goals for himself. In the last two years, only one of his teammates has scored a hundred at home, and only two others (Sarel Erwee and Kyle Verreynne, neither of whom is playing in this series) have reached 100. But because he has let people down in the past, he knows this is his chance to step up.
“My life has changed a lot since I played for SA under-19,” de Zorzi said. “I was captain, but I wasn’t the star of that side,” he said.
Because Wiaan Mulder did it. When De Zorzi came back from the World Cup for his age group, he had to go back to club cricket and “start over.” He played for the University of Pretoria team, which was led by Kruger van Wyk, who is now the fielding coach. Then he got a job with Northerns, where he kept getting better and better and averaged almost 80 for the second-tier provincial team in the summer of 2016–17. In the summer of 2020, he moved to Western Province, where Ashwell Prince was the head coach. Since then, he has been made captain.
This summer, he is averaging over 100, mostly because of his unbeaten 304 against the Knights, when Gerald Coetzee was part of his attack (though admittedly not many other big names).
“It’s been a long process, and I’m glad it’s come to this,” said de Zorzi. “It also reminds me of where I came from and to not get too far ahead of myself because I had to do a lot of dirty work to get there. Some guys start getting it a little bit earlier. Mine is starting to come true right now.”
After averaging over 48 in three of the last four seasons, de Zorzi was hard to ignore in this Test squad, but it took a change in leadership for that to happen. He got his chance because the new red-ball coach, Shukri Conrad, also acts as a selector when there isn’t a panel. “We knew it would be a new start when the coaches changed,” de Zorzi said. “If everyone took a chance and did well, you knew there would be a new set of eyes and maybe even more chances. That was a lot of fun. Dean Elgar, who was captain at the time, used to say that the number of runs you scored would get you into the team. Guys knew that they had to have a good season if they wanted to move up. There was nothing else to do.”
But now that it has, players like de Zorzi need to take control of their space. He showed West Indies’ attack what he was made of in the first Test, and Kyle Mayers saw it. “This guy seems to have everything together,” he said. “He is square of the wicket and strong.”
De Zorzi is very good at the cut shot. In this innings, he got almost a third of his runs with the cut shot. However, the West Indies had already figured him out from the first Test. At the SuperSport Park, they tried to give him less space. De Zorzi said, “They stick to the basics a little bit longer.” “You might get a few less bad balls, but international cricketers who do their homework are going to do it. I could tell they had different plans based on how they bowled to me today compared to how they did it at SuperSport Park. They can make it harder for you to score. And, of course, the intensity is a little bit higher. When I got out, I was really tired. It is not easy.”
But so was de Zorzi. During the free-flowing afternoon session in South Africa, he played well. Natasha sat still in the Memorial Stand the whole time. De Zorzi made his first sign to her when he hit Alzarri Joseph out of the ground with the 82nd ball he faced. She would have been incredibly proud, no doubt. As the pitch got faster and West Indies made a comeback, De Zorzi faced 73 more balls and scored 35 more runs.
They lost five wickets for 64 runs after tea, so the game is now tied. If South Africa can’t score more than 350, West Indies might be able to fight back. If you give up on that, on a pitch that is already starting to turn, the game might be over. Either way, it’s set up to bring in people who didn’t know they liked cricket, especially during a mid-week Test match when only a small part of the stadium is filled. But it’s important. And de Zorzi knows that better than anyone else.
The collapse that never came at Hagley Oval involving Sri Lanka
The skies are gray and heavy, like a wet blanket that will soon be thrown over the whole series. The field is so full of plants that animals that live in the woods have moved in. The outfield is wet, and sometimes a cold drizzle falls on biting winds. And while the local bowlers, who are all big and tall, are nimble and strong in their warm-up overs on the practice pitches, the Sri Lankan batters, who are covered in wool sweaters, face throwdowns and look like they are about to be sacrificed on an altar of seam bowling.
Get the coin. Put Sri Lanka in. Watch the ball jump gleefully off the edges of the bats and into the hands of the slip cordon as batter after batter falls like marionettes, the scoreboard showing 45-3, then 67-5, and a few swipes at the end pushing the total just over 100. Here are the usual parts of Sri Lanka’s day one story on a ground like Hagley Oval.
When they were here before, they didn’t have to bat first, but they were still out after 138 runs. The last time, they had players like Kumar Sangakkara on their team, but they still lost by 104 runs. Unless Sri Lanka pulls off a near-miracle in the second innings, which they do from time to time, these are game-changing messes. (Then New Zealand will go up to bat and put on half a million for six while smiling politely, which will only show how bad they were before.)
Then this happened. Four years after the last time they played a Test in New Zealand, where they were beaten by 423 runs at this same site, they had an amazing day of batting. Of defensive play that was mostly okay and technique that was pretty good. Had Sri Lanka’s batters done the work to figure out where their off stump was before they started a Test on foreign soil? Any Sri Lanka fan should feel a tear of pure pride just thinking about it.
Kusal Mendis, who may have been the best player in the XI, took the lead. The most important part of his 87 out of 83 was how he judged length on a surface that was a bit bumpy. When it was on a good length, he defended close to his body, almost always with soft hands, so that when the ball came in and took the edge, it bounced short of the slips. Most of the time, though, he defended inside the line, mostly using his bat to block balls that could hit him in front of the wickets or get past him to the wickets.
When New Zealand’s bowlers bowled fuller and tried hard to get an edge that could be caught, Mendis gave his all to his front-foot strokes, sometimes driving it with authority, other times sending it squirting off the face of the bat through backward point, and other times flicking it deliciously off his pads.
He got 50 runs off of 40 balls, but New Zealand’s bowlers didn’t have a great morning. 44 of those runs came from fours. He and Dimuth Karunaratne, who was just as steady but less aggressive against balls that could be hit, put together a 137-run partnership at the second wicket that was the key to Sri Lanka’s progress on day one. They would get out in consecutive overs, but when they did, they were often replaced by better batsmen.
Angelo Mathews waited for the shorter balls and scored 38 of his 47 runs through the leg side. He also hit a couple of fours off his pads when the ball was close to him. Dinesh Chandimal liked to hit the ball to the off side, and he did so six times. As Dhananjaya de Silva batted with Kasun Rajitha near the end of the day, he made boundaries whenever he could.
Their scoring areas were different, but almost all of Sri Lanka’s top seven batters covered the stumps, didn’t rush at balls until they were set, didn’t mind when deliveries beat their bats, and didn’t chase seaming balls outside their stumps. Even when bowled at (mostly by Tim Southee and Matt Henry), they didn’t give up, which is something they often do when the ball is turning.
Given Sri Lanka’s long tail and lack of experience in the field, which New Zealand can easily take advantage of, 305 for 6 is not a great first-day score. It is possible that New Zealand will win the match. But given the situation, Sri Lanka were good enough. And it’s not often that you can say that about Sri Lanka on the first day of a match in New Zealand.
India’s trust is rewarded by Bharat’s skill behind the stumps.
Sometimes almost everything that makes up a Test match is found in a single ball. One of those balls was the one that knocked Pat Cummins out of the game on the third morning in Delhi. It had the blunt precision of the Indian spinners, the deadly glide that made this pitch so hard to play on, and the sweep, a high-risk, high-reward shot so controversial that a thousand autopsies were written about it.
And there was one more thing. After the ball slipped under Cummins‘ bat, it hit the inside edge of the outside stump, bounced off the side of the middle stump and landed in KS Bharat’s gloves.
The ball didn’t spin sharply, but it didn’t go all the way with the arm either. After it was thrown, it straightened just a little. It also stayed low before bouncing off the stumps twice. Bharat had followed the ball all the way, even as Cummins took a wild swing, and he had collected it cleanly.
It didn’t matter because the ball was dead by the time he reached it, but he did a good job with his glove.
Later that day, when India had lost four wickets and were 27 runs away from their target, Bharat was moved up the order and scored a brilliant unbeaten 23 off 22 balls, including three perfectly timed fours to cover and a solid knock with a slog-swept six.
In his first two Test innings, Bharat had scored 8 and 6 in the first two games of this series. He must have felt much better after that start because he played on Sunday. Some watching from the outside might have even thought he was trying to save his career with that performance.
But India probably wouldn’t have seriously considered taking Bharat out of the game after Delhi, even if he had done nothing in the second innings. They probably know that anyone can score a number of low scores on difficult pitches, and they may have seen glimpses of Bharat’s counter-attacking potential during his brief stint with the Indian national team
It took a long time for these things to happen.
In May 2018, Indian senior team officials selected Bharat as the goalkeeper for the four-day tour and Rishabh Pant as the goalkeeper for the 50-over tour. The Indian senior team was also touring England that summer, so the A tour was a shadow tour. At the time, officials felt that Bharat was India’s best pure goalkeeper and Pant was an exciting batsman whose glovework needed work.
When Wriddhiman Saha got injured and could not join the England tour, India included Pant in its Test team in place of Bharat. The genius is going in his own direction.
But Bharat remained an important player in India’s second team. Since the beginning of 2018, he has played 19 first-class matches for the India A team, which is more than any other player except Abhimanyu Easwaran, who bats first. In those India A matches, he has scored 971 runs at a rate of 48.55, including three hundreds.
Last year, when India took Saha out of its test team, Bharat took his place. So it made sense that Bharat made his debut when Pant was injured. The Indian team management may have been tempted by Ishan Kishan’s competing claims, but they chose Bharat at the start of this Border-Gavaskar series.
At the start of the 2019-20 home season, India dropped Pant from the Test programme XI and brought back Saha for a series against South Africa. Virat Kohli described Saha as the best goalkeeper in the world and they felt his good glove work was important on India’s winding tracks. They felt that Pant still needed to work on his goalkeeping. Pant worked on it and became a world-class goalkeeper when India played England in early 2021. Until then, however, Saha was still the first choice for home games.
At the start of this series between India and Australia, the same idea was in play. India appreciates how good Bharat is with the bat, but they know he is their best goalkeeper when Pant is not around.