Frank Tyson is a man of contradictions, atavistic yet progressive.
What he said:
“To bowl quick is to revel in the glad animal action.”
Former English fast bowler—arguably the quickest of the quicks—Frank Holmes Tyson describes the thrill of unleashing thunderbolts.
“There is a sudden shock shaking me to the skull as the stiff left leg crashes into the unsympathetic turf. My whole body flings itself after the ball as if in malediction towards the batsman. To bowl quick is to revel in the glad animal action.”
Do pacers enjoy knocking down their opponents?
“When people ask me about the use of the bouncer, of the fast bowler wanting to hit the batsman, I never understand that. I never wanted to hit people; I wanted to get them out. You use the bouncer in a shock capacity. I was almost a one-day wonder, in terms of how much Test cricket I played. But the one thing I knew was that I could get past the Australian batsmen, with sheer pace. I had a captain, Len Hutton, who used me with a certain criteria in mind. I could either bowl in a holding capacity or in a shock capacity. Alright, I concede I was fast, but it was not something that I could maintain over a period of time.”
Tyson was a student of English literature graduating from the University of Durham.
The Englishman was prone to reciting poetry to his opponents.
His favourite was William Wordsworth’s “Ode on the intimation to immortality when recollected in early childhood” which he would
soliloquise to himself on his way back to the mound.
“The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.”
What he really meant:
“There’s nothing more aggressive and brutish on the cricket field than the sight of a fast bowler intimidating the opposition with pace and skill. To be a fast bowler is to be an animal—for the moment—and enjoy the feeling.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Poetry in motion cherry by my side
My lovely locomotion keeps the batsman’s eyes open wide
Poetry in motion see the coward sway
A wave out on the ocean could never move that way.
(With apologies to Johnny Tillotson).”