Tim Zoehrer: Wrong place at the wrong time


by Abhishek Mukherjee

Many cricketers have been victim of the born-at-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time syndrome, but few had to compete with as many giants of the sport as Tim Zoehrer.

Zoehrer started his career with Western Australia. He obviously had no chance there, for he got to play only when Rod Marsh was on national duty.

He broke through to the national side once Marsh retired and Australia tried out one wicketkeeper after another. His competition included Roger Woolley, Wayne Phillips, and Greg Dyer.

Of them, Woolley faded out, while Dyer was sidelined after claiming a catch that television replays had clearly revealed was wrongly claimed.

So Zoehrer had a stint of sorts. He played 10 Tests and 22 ODIs. He was a gritty batsman, a sound wicketkeeper, and had one of the loudest appeals. He also had the ability to get under the batsman's skin – and umpires.

But his international career came to a premature end by the arrival of Ian Healy. Zoehrer did tour England for the 1989 Ashes, but only as the second wicketkeeper.

Zoehrer also clashed with coach Bobby Simpson, who had accused Zoehrer of stealing a bottle of Scotch. There were also rumours of Zoehrer trying to woo *both daughters* of Simpson, something Zoehrer denied.

So he had to remain content with playing for his state. But even that opportunity was gone when Adam Gilchrist decided to move to Western Australia. So popular was Zoehrer that Gilchrist was booed during his first few matches by the locals.

Before that, however, Zoehrer had made one last-ditch effort to break through. He might not be the best wicketkeeper in the side, but then, he also bowled leg-breaks – so why not try to try his luck out?

So Zoehrer went to England in 1993 as second wicketkeeper, reserve to Healy, and second leg-spinner, reserve to *Shane Warne*, who broke through to Ashes cricket with The Ball of the Century on that same tour.

Obviously there was no chance.

There is, however, a footnote. While Warne's 75 wickets on the tour came at 22.64 apiece, Zoehrer's 12 came at 20.83.

He was not good enough, but you can certainly not blame him for not trying to outdo Marsh, Healy, Gilchrist, and Warne.

Born September 25, 1961.