The sons of famous cricketers have it real easy, don't they? Think again! The recent photos of Arjun Tendulkar playing in the nets in Melbourne and Sydney may make you think so, especially if you consider that almost no budding cricket prodigy in the country can even go and watch a match there. The tales of Bradley Hughes and Matthew Thomson, sons of Australian cricket icons Kim Hughes and Jeff Thomson, would make you think otherwise.
During the net practice ahead of India's third Test against Australia at Perth, there was a 2.03m tall bowler who loped in and then, in his delivery stride, used a slingshot action to release the ball like Jan Zelezny once released the javelin. In the same nets, 35-odd years ago there was a man who by his own admission would just "shuffle up and go wang". Wang here means a cricket ball being hurled at 160kmph. That man was Jeff Thomson, arguably the quickest bowler the game has seen. The man bowling in the nets had similar blonde hair and the boyish good looks, that man was his 28-year-old son Matthew.
Thommo junior dissected the trademark slingshot action. "Dad never coached me and I never saw him bowl, so I picked the action up on my own. Sometimes I feel it's just a case of genes."
Beset with injuries owing to his beanpole frame, Thomson moved from the Queensland grade cricket to Western Australia grade cricket this season. "Since I'm so tall, I rely more on bounce. I'm also a useful batsman." Helping him become a better batsman is Thommo's former teammate Kim Hughes, alongside his own son, Bradley Hughes.
Bradley, 28, was a professional body boarder, until the cricket bug bit him. Speaking of the experience, Hughes senior told HT, "Bradley was never much into cricket. At the start of the season, he asked me if I would help him become a cricketer. He didn't know anything about cricket. He asked me how does one take a run. I told him, 'you call and you run'. Imagine a son of former Australian cricket captain who doesn't know how to take a run."
He shared another funny incident. "The first time he was batting at the nets, he played a defensive shot and waited for the bowler to come up to the crease to pick up the ball. I said to him, 'It's not polite if you make the bowler come to your crease to pick up the ball. Just pick it up and give it'. In his debut match, he went to bat, defended the first ball and then was picking it up and giving it back to the bowler, before his partner explained that it was done only in the nets."
And you thought sons of cricketers had it easy!