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'Little pr*ck': Ashes rival spills on Aussie legend's brutal sledge

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Graham Thorpe is seen here dispatching an Aussie bowler away during the Ashes.
Ian Healy and Graham Thorpe had some memorable Ashes battles against one another. Pic: Getty

Tales of legendary sledges go hand-in-hand with some of cricket's most memorable moments but Graham Thorpe has revealed one that many people might not know about.

The English Test batting great was no stranger to the odd sledge here and there, but he says former Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy was the only man to get the better of him out in the middle.

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It was during the 1993 Ashes series when Thorpe reveals the words from Healy that seem to haunt him to this day.

England had collapsed to be 8/229 on day four of the fifth Test at Edgbaston, with Thorpe the only batsman from the home side to pass 50 runs for the second innings.

Aussie spinners Shane Warne and Tim May had combined to decimate England's top order, after the Aussies finished on 408 for their first innings.

Thorpe was proving the one and only form of resistance for England; that is until Healy decided to pipe up from behind the stumps when Warne was bowling.

“Steve Waugh was at silly point, and it’s the only time I’ve been out sledged on a cricket pitch,” Thorpe said on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast.

Ian Healy and Shane Warne celebrate Australia's Ashes victory over Graham Thorpe's England.
Graham Thorpe still remembers Ian Healy's 1993 Ashes sledge to this day. Pic: Getty

“We were eight down, I was 60 not out, and Ian Healy turned round to Steve Waugh who was standing at silly point, and he said, ‘Watch this little prick play for a red inker’. And I charged out of my crease trying to hit Warne for six, and obviously I missed it, it hit the rough, and it was a great take.

“I said to myself as I walked off, ‘That’s never going to happen again’.”

The term red inker refers to a not out batsman in cricket, with Healy's suggestion that Thorpe would see his teammates fall around him, rather than try and take the game to Australia himself.

Thorpe remembers Healy battles fondly

Healy's sledge certainly worked a treat, with the keeper stumping Thorpe before the Aussie's went on to claim an 8-wicket win for a 4-nil series lead in the Ashes.

Thorpe said while he'll never forget how Healy got the better of him on that occasion, there were never any hard feelings between the pair.

In fact, the English great says the Aussie wicketkeeper was a likeable larrikin who he always enjoyed having a beer and a chat with after matches.

“There was an incident when I was in Brisbane, and I went to sweep the ball, and Glenn McGrath was at short fine-leg at the time. I went to sweep the ball and I missed it, and Ian Healy’s shouted to McGrath ‘Get it pigeon, get it, get it’, and I’ve nearly set off for a single. Little did I know that the ball is in Ian Healy’s hands, he’s taken it down the leg-side,” Thorpe explained.

“I turned round to Healy and said, ‘You wouldn’t, would you?’ and he said, ‘Try me mate’.

“He was one of those Aussies in the 90s, there was a handful of them, if you did well against them they’d be forthcoming with a pack of six and share a beer and chat the game over which was great.

“They weren’t all like that, but a few of them were.”

Thorpe finished his 100-Test match career for England with an average of 44.7 after amassing 6744 runs, 16 centuries and 39 half centuries.

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