England cricket great Graham Thorpe has revealed the brutal sledge from former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy which thwarted him during the 1993 Ashes series.
During the fifth Test at Edgbaston, England was reeling on day four at 8-229, with Aussie tweakers Shane Warne and Tim May rattling the depleted batting attack.
As the only batsman to pass fifty in the second innings, Thorpe was showing some resistance until Healy started to chirp from behind the stumps.
“Steve Waugh was at silly point, and it’s the only time I’ve been out sledged on a cricket pitch,” Thorpe said on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast.
“We were eight down, I was 60 not out, and Ian Healy turned round to Steve Waugh who was standing at silly point, and he said, ‘Watch this little prick play for a red inker’. And I charged out of my crease trying to hit Warne for six, and obviously I missed it, it hit the rough, and it was a great take.
“I said to myself as I walked off, ‘That’s never going to happen again’.”
Australia went on to comfortably win the match by eight wickets and take a 4-0 lead in the six-Test series.
Healy’s lightning gloves removed Thorpe in almost identical fashion during the fifth Test of the 1994-95 Ashes in Perth, with Warne once again the bowler.
But Thorpe had already acquired 123 with the bat when he was dismissed, and sledging was not the instigator on this occasion.
Despite the incident in Birmingham, Thorpe described Healy as a “very funny” character, and rated him as the best wicketkeeper of the 1990s.
“There was an incident when I was in Brisbane, and I went to sweep the ball, and Glenn McGrath was at short fine-leg at the time. I went to sweep the ball and I missed it, and Ian Healy’s shouted to McGrath ‘Get it pigeon, get it, get it’, and I’ve nearly set off for a single. Little did I know that the ball is in Ian Healy’s hands, he’s taken it down the leg-side,” Thorpe explained.
“I turned round to Healy and said, ‘You wouldn’t, would you?’ and he said, ‘Try me mate’.
“He was one of those Aussies in the 90s, there was a handful of them, if you did well against them they’d be forthcoming with a pack of six and share a beer and chat the game over which was great. “They weren’t all like that, but a few of them were.”
Thorpe played 100 Test matches for England, scoring 6744 runs at a batting average of 44.66, including 16 centuries.