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Richardson, Thomas
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Byfleet, Surrey
Test: 1893 - 1898
First Class: 1892 - 1905
England (Country)
Surrey (Regional)

The Ashes story: How it all began

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Giant breaking fast bowler took most first class wickets

Richardson, Thomas

Tom Richardson was born on August 11, 1870 in Byfleet, Surrey. He died aged 41 years on July 2, 1912 in St Jean d'Arvey, Chambery, Savoie, France.

Richardson was one of the greatest of all fast bowlers, and he took a staggering 809 first-class wickets in the three seasons of 1895, 1896 and 1897, with his tally of 290 in the first of those years remaining a record for 33 years, and still the highest by any pace bowler.

On his Test debut, Richardson's took ten Australian wickets at Old Trafford in 1893. His bowling average of 10.32 for his 196 wickets in the 1894 season has not been approached since.

Richardson was an automatic selection for the 1894/95 trip to Australia and, with 32 wickets at 26 runs each he played a leading role in England’s victory in the first truly memorable Test series. England triumphed by just 10 runs in the opening match of the series which was the first, and until Ian Botham’s heroics at Headingley in 1981 only, Test to be won by a side who had followed on.

His performances in the 1896 Ashes series became the stuff of legend. Having won the Lord's Test with 11 wickets, Richardson then took 7-168 and 6-76 in the next Test at Old Trafford. On a featherbed of a wicket, he bowled 68 five-ball overs in the first innings and then bowled unchanged for 42.3 overs in the second, as Australia sneaked home by three wickets.

Richardson was picked as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1896.

In retirement, Richardson became a publican, first in Kingston and then the West Country. He died from a suspected heart attack whilst walking on holiday in France in 1912.

In 1963, Neville Cardus picked Richardson in The Wisden Giants of the Century stating "I take him as the fully realised personification of the fast bowler as every schoolboy dreams and hopes he might one day be himself. Richardson was, in his heyday, a handsome, swarthy giant, lithe, muscular, broad of shoulder, and of apparently inexhaustible energy. He was indeed the ideal fast bowler, aiming at the stumps, always on the attack. His leap before the right arm wheeled over was superb in poise. Never did he send down a defensive ball. He would have been too proud".

Source: CricketCrowd Staff Reporter

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