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Ken Thorpe had dreams of his son Ian treading in his first grade cricket footsteps. Ken, who played for Bankstown in the Sydney competition with fiery Test speedsters Jeff Thomson and Lenny Pascoe, was a middle order batsman who took a ton of shifting, his defence was so tight.

I played against him for years.

He was known as a “nurdler”, hardly knocking the ball off the square. When the scoreboard showed he had 40 runs against his name, you wondered how he got there.

He was a prize scalp.

Ian was six when Ken took him to renowned cricket coach David Hourne, better known as “Cracker”.

It took just seconds to “Cracker’s” discerning eye that Ian had precious little ball sense, and wasn’t well co-ordinated: two vital necessities to make it in cricket.

Wondering how he was going to break the bad news to his cricket-mad Dad, “Cracker” asked if Ian played any other sports.

“Oh, he’s showing some interest in swimming,” was Ken’s reply.

Quick as a flash “Cracker” suggested to Ken it would be a good idea to foster that interest.

Fostering a swimming interest in Ian Thorpe had to be the understatement of a lifetime.

The rest, as we all know, is history.

Originally published on The Roar by David Lord former Mosman Cricket Club first grade cricketer - https://www.theroar.com.au/2011/11/03/how-thorpey-swapped-a-baggy-green-for-some-swimming-trunks/

6 days ago

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