Graham Thorpe MBE
International Cricketer, After Dinner Speaker and Match Day Host
Graham Thorpe MBE made his debut for Surrey in 1988, and his international debut in 1993.
He scored a century (114 not out) in the second innings of his debut Test match, against Australia at Trent Bridge. Developing into a very highly-regarded player, he was named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1998. Thorpe hit only one four in his hundred against Pakistan at Lahore in November 2000. It also contained seven threes, 12 twos and 51 singles. He hit another boundary before being dismissed for 118 from 301 balls. No other batsman has scored 100 runs in a Test with just one boundary.
However, Thorpe was also a highly capable stroke-maker: during his highest Test score, 200 not out off 231 balls against New Zealand at Christchurch in 2002, he and Andrew Flintoff compiled a partnership of 281 in 51overs.
During the 2002 season, Thorpe had marital difficulties which were well-publicised in several tabloid newspapers, and this seriously affected his play and his focus on the game. Seemingly disillusioned with constant touring away from his family, he announced his retirement from the one-day game and changed his mind several times on whether to tour Australia, eventually pulling out of the tour entirely.
However in 2003 Thorpe, with family problems put to one side, returned to the England team in the fifth Test against South Africa at his home ground of The Oval, where he was warmly welcomed as a local hero with a standing ovation. Thorpe scored an excellent 124 as England won the match to force an unlikely series draw, and remained in the side for series victories against Bangladesh away and at home, against the West Indies away and at home, against New Zealand at home, and in South Africa.
He played his hundredth and final Test against Bangladesh in June 2005; in the two years between his comeback and his retirement he scored 1635 Test runs at an average of 56.37
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