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Tom Dell’s Journey From Beginner Ashes to Vietnam War PTSD Victim Explored in New Book |  Cricket News

Former Australian Fast Launcher helps support military veterans, first responders and other PTSD victims through his non-profit “Stand Tall for PTS” charity; its story is detailed in a new book released this week titled “And Bring the Darkness Home”

Last update: 06/18/21 5:47 PM

Left arm couturier Dell performed two tests for Australia despite being born in Lymington, Hampshire

When England and Australia renew their Ashes rivalry this winter, it should rekindle the memories of a former Quick Test player.

Tony Dell’s debut for Australia against England in the final test in Sydney in February 1971 was remarkable for all kinds of reasons.

He had only played a handful of first-class matches and had barely taken wickets before being called up. He was also officially still a “Pom”, born and raised in England.

The test itself was one of the most controversial in Ashes history, with captain Ray Illingworth taking his players off the field in a row for intimidating bowling.

Tom Dell’s Journey From Beginner Ashes to Vietnam War PTSD Victim Explored in New Book |  Cricket News

Dell bowling alley at Illingworth on day one of the 1971 Ashes Test at SCG

But Tony Dell can tell you little about his early days today. His memory has been the victim of experiences that mark his life history as extraordinary beyond the cricket pitch, a life that touches on sport, war and mental health.

Dell was the only test cricketer to fight in the Vietnam War. He is also the only surviving test cricketer to have seen the action in a major theater of war.

Upon his return from Vietnam, he had picked up where he left off as a promising left-arm bowler. His Test debut, in a young, new-look Australian team, was the moment he felt he had arrived.

But the years that followed saw his cricket career, business and family life fall apart. He found himself estranged from his wife and children, living in his mother’s garage.

Dell revealed to me the full and poignant story of this dramatic decline in a new book, And bring the darkness home, published this week.

It was by chance, 40 years after his return from Vietnam, and well into his sixties, that he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tom Dell’s Journey From Beginner Ashes to Vietnam War PTSD Victim Explored in New Book |  Cricket News

Private Dell on tour of Vietnam – an experience that would lead his life to collapse

Suddenly all the pain and suffering, anxiety and dysfunction started to make sense. He realized that he had never faced the horrors he had witnessed on the battlefield and, like so many before and since, had lived in silence with the terrible consequences.

His determination to do something for those who suffered like him led him on a journey. His nonprofit “Stand Tall for PTS” has grown into a movement for greater awareness and support for veterans, first responders and other victims.

The proceeds from the sale of the book will support the work of the association. Dell hopes to one day see a test match designated as a mental health and PTSD awareness event.

He has the high level support of his former captain Greg Chappell. The Australian legend played alongside Dell for years and had no idea he had served in Vietnam.

Chappell believes Dell has had a successful career stolen from Australia’s great 1970s team.

But Dell itself is hoping for a very different legacy.

He said: “The more I talk about it, the more people see that it’s not just them going through it, the more it can encourage them to talk, so I’ve done something worthwhile. It’s my therapy. . Let’s see what we can do to help others. “

Proceeds from sales of And Bring the Darkness Home will go to Tony’s charity.


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