Ian Thomson (cricketer)
|Full name||Norman Ian Thomson|
23 January 1929 |
Walsall, Staffordshire, England
|Batting style||Right-hand bat|
|Bowling style||Right-arm medium|
Life and career
born 23 January 1929, Walsall, Staffordshire, Thomson was a medium-fast right-arm swing and seam bowler, of accuracy and consistency, and a useful lower-order batsman. He was the reliable heart of the Sussex bowling attack for fourteen seasons from 1952 to 1965, and took more than 100 wickets in every season except the first and last of that sequence. His accuracy meant that he was very rarely mastered, and his command of swing in the often-favourable seaside conditions of Sussex's home grounds meant that he could, at times, be devastating. His best performance was to take all ten Warwickshire wickets in an innings for 49 runs in the match at Worthing in 1964; he finished the match with figures of 15 for 75 on a rain-affected pitch, but Sussex were dismissed for just 23 in the fourth innings and contrived to lose a low-scoring match by 182 runs. Nevertheless, his performance was the last occasion of a bowler taking all ten wickets in one innings in England.
The later part of Thomson's career coincided with the first one-day competition. He was an early success in this form of cricket, picking up the man of the match award in the 1964 Gillette Cup final, when Sussex beat Warwickshire.
It probably did Thomson's career no harm that these 1964 deeds came against Warwickshire, and he was picked for the 1964–65 MCC tour to South Africa, which was led by the Warwickshire captain, M. J. K. Smith. England's seam bowling was in a state of transition, with the Fred Trueman and Brian Statham era drawing to an end. At his age, Thomson was never likely to be more than a stop-gap, and though he played in all five Tests on the tour, he was used largely as a stock bowler, with the spinners Fred Titmus and David Allen taking most wickets. A spate of injuries on the tour led to a call-up for Ken Palmer, who was coaching locally, and Geoffrey Boycott was also used as a bowler. Thomson took just nine wickets in the five Tests, only two more than Boycott.
This was not Thomson's only overseas experience with MCC. In 1955–56, he had toured Pakistan, with the side led by Donald Carr, which played only "unofficial" Tests: in fact, he appeared in none of these matches, and played only four other games on the tour.
Thomson retired after the 1965 English season, though he reappeared in two matches in 1972, when Sussex had an injury crisis.
Although he always batted fairly low in the order for Sussex, and his highest first-class score was 77, Thomson was a useful batsman. In 1961, he scored 780 runs in the season at an average of more than 20, and in several other years he contributed more than 500 runs.
- Wisden, 1953 to 1966 editions