Tyson The Typhoon
by Arshad Chughtai

Scorecard:Australia v England
Player:FH Tyson, DG Bradman, RR Lindwall, TW Graveney, H Larwood
Event:Marylebone Cricket Club in Australia and New Zealand 1954/55

DateLine: 23rd December 2015


Obituary: Frank Tyson


Frank Holmes Tyson was amongst the fastest bowlers the world had ever seen, although logically the title of fastest of them all passes from generation to generation. But the debate as to who was the fastest ever would never end.


Nevertheless in this context perhaps most appropriate and befitting compliments for Frank Tyson are mentioned in Wikipedia, stating that 'the best that can be said was that he was noticeably faster than his contemporaries Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller, Fred Truman, Brian Statham, Peter Heine and Neil Adcock’.


Still, it may be of great interest to have a look at some of the most notable remarks made about him:


How Sir Donald Bradman regarded him
Sir Donald Bradman who had faced Larwood in the famous Bodyline series and later had also seen Frank Tyson at his peak in 1954-55 Ashes Series, had once regarded Frank Tyson as the fastest bowler he had ever seen.


More Tributes
- Famous commentator John Arlott had described him the fastest bowler he had ever seen.
- England legend Tom Graveney wrote that I cannot believe any bowler was faster than Tyson at that time, slip fielders had to stand to 40 yards off the bat and still the ball was often going over heads from edged shots.
- Richie Benaud had expressed that he had never seen anyone bowl quicker than Tyson did during his assault on Australia in the summer of 1954-55 when Tyson roared in with his long-striding charge, pounced with his long, straining final leap, scared the wits out of Australia’s best batsmen and won the Ashes for England.
- Neil Harvey, one of the finest post world-war Australian batsman, also rated Frank Tyson and Wes Hall as two fastest bowlers he ever faced.


Birth & Death of the Legend
Born on 6 June 1930 at Farnworth, Lancashire, England, Frank Tyson - nicknamed Typhoon Tyson died at the age of 85 in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia on 27th September 2015.


First Class and Test Debut
Denied a county cap by his native county, Lancashire, Tyson started his first class career from Northamptonshire. He made his first class debut against VS Hazare’s visiting Indian team in 1952 and his first wicket was that of opening Test batsman Pankaj Roy for a duck. Soon his rise was meteoric and immediately his name become synonymous with terror. Such was his super natural speed in those days, that in 1954 at Old Trafford Tyson hit the sight screen with the ball after it bounced once on the pitch. Other than him only Charles Kortright, Roy Gilchrist and Jeff Thomson had achieved the feat.


Tyson made his Test debut against Pakistan in the fourth and final Test of the series at the Oval in August 1954 along with PJ Loader and he took 4 for 35 in 13.4 overs in Pakistan’s first innings, which helped England dismiss the tourists for a paltry 133 runs in just under three and half hours. But that effort went in vain as Fazal Mahmood took 12 wickets and won the match for Pakistan.


Career Record
Later in a career which spanned over the next five years, he played 16 more Tests and his career tally was 76 wickets at an amazing average of 18.56. He took five wickets in an innings four times and once ten wickets in a match.


The Test Series which took him to the pinnacle of fame
His best career performance was in Australia during the 1954-55 rubber. By virtue of this, England won the Ashes for the first time in Australia since Harold Larwood had caused similar chaos more than two decades earlier.


Australia won the first Test at Brisbane by an innings and 154 runs where Tyson had struggled with disappointing figures of 1 for 160.


Soon he got his rhythm back and in the next Test at Sydney he returned with his best Test match performance of 10 for 130. Australia seemed comfortable looking set to achieve the target of 223 for victory but with 6 for 85 Tyson turned the tables and swept England to a dramatic win to level the series.


For Tyson, still more success and glory was in store. At Melbourne, on a poor pitch Australia needed 240 runs to win but Tyson had other designs. He bowled with amazing stamina and great speed on the day and made short work of the strong Australian batting line up with career best innings figures of 7-27 (6-16 off his last 51 balls), Australia was bundled out for 111 and lost their last eight wickets for just 36 runs. England won the Test match by 128 runs to utter disbelief of a 60,000 strong home crowd. This broad shouldered, balding, scholarly looking man had wreaked havoc on the Australians as they were dismissed before lunch.


England won the fourth Test at Adelaide to secure Ashes with Tyson grabbing 6 wickets for 132. But last not the least, yet another interesting event of that series was that although the fifth Test at Sydney was rained out, Len Hutton asked Tyson to bowl off just six paces to try for a result. Surprisingly Tyson was still fast enough to knock the bat from the hands of Keith Miller.


He took 28 wickets at an average of 20.82 in the series and was nicknamed ‘Typhoon Tyson’ by the press.


End of the career and post retirement services
Later, despite some notable performances against New Zealand and South Africa he could not again scale the same height as he had achieved in the famous Ashes tour in 1954-55. Foot injuries forced him to a premature retirement at the age of 30 in 1960. Subsequently he emigrated to Australia where he admirably worked as a school teacher of languages, cricket coach, commentator and a columnist. He wrote twenty books on cricket.


Alas! Such a great legend of cricket has passed away.


(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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