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Sir Donald Bradman

By: Rex Inego | May 02, 2009 10:53 AM

Donald Bradman : The Boy From Bowral

'The Don', this was how he was often referred to as. Sir Donald George Bradman who was born on 27 August 1908 in Cootamundra, New South Wales, played cricket for Australia and is widely regarded as the greatest batsman in the history of the game. A phenomenal test batting average of 99.99 that highlights the cricket career of Bradman has been acknowledged as one of the greatest achievements, statistically in any major sports, if not the greatest.




Donald Bradman had set many records even before his 22nd birthday and by the zenith of the Great Depression had emerged as the sporting idol of Australia. This was the climax of an Australian folklore that was all about a young boy who practiced alone with a golf ball and a cricket stump. In a playing career spanning twenty years he was taken to scoring consistently at a level that urged Bill Woodfull, the former Australian captain to say that he was worth three batsmen to the continent down under.

Even the infamous bodyline strategy was formed by the contemporary England team with a view to check this copious flow of runs from the bat of the boy from Bowral who had by then evolved into a giant in the context of the game. In fact, Douglas Jardine's England's Bodyline tactics that was all about making Harold Larwood and Bill Voce to bowl at the rib cage of the batsman with considerable speed. They believed firmly that this could combat the extraordinary batting skills of Bradman.




The leg theory as it was explained by the English think tank was however later disphemised as Bodyline, which invited the scorn of the public in Australia. This too, to an extent that the diplomatic relations between the two countries strained. England, whatsoever tasted success from there newly mastered tactic with a comprehensive 4-1 rubber win. Meanwhile, Bradman had developed a new counter technique to ward off the consistent short deliveries from the English quickies. This was all about moving away from the line of the ball to the leg side to square cut the ball through the off side gaps.

Even though Bradman finished the series with a remarkable 56.57 average (See that this result was achieved despite Bradman not being a confident hooker of the cricket ball), the feat was much below his overall average of 99.99. However, the bodyline series had taken its toll off Bradman's techniques. According to someone like Jack Fingleton it affected his batsmanship chronically. Jack Fingleton later went on to say that Bodyline was prepared specially for Bradman and as a consequence stripped off something vibrant from his batting art.




After the long hiatus forced by the world war II, his return to the crease was celebrated like a festival by the Australian cricket fanatics. They simply had their best times with their hero back in action, until the day Bradman decided to call it a day. It was mind ripping for the average Australian cricket lover who had by then created an affinity in them towards enjoying the man's batting prowess. Neither they knew that more disappointment was in store for them in Bradman's last test match at the Oval in England.




Bradman walked out to the crease with just needing four runs to reach a mammoth career batting average of 100. Although, Norman Yardley's England side boasted of some talented bowlers such as Bedser and Watkins, Bradman had his work half done, simply for the reason that a lesser known bowler was to bowl to him. The bowler was Eric Hollies, a leg spinner of Warwickshire who got the cap because he had troubled the touring Australians with his gentle turners in a tour match.

The joy of the Australians was abruptly apprehended to a hollow, as Bradman who had fended the first delivery from Hollies, saw himself castled with the next ball from the debutant a well disguised googly that sailed through between the bat and the pad of the cricket legend to break the stumps. This left stunned not only the thousands of cricket fans watching that live, but also the great man himself..at least for a moment, as he turned back and started the long walk amidst a round of standing ovation.




Thereafter, Bradman led a life of isolation arguably, if that can be called as that. Whatsoever, he was definitely evasive to the media persons, until recently, approximately an year or two prior to his demise, he called up on his wife after watching a particular cricket match on the television, to reveal, as if triggered by an epiphany that a boy batting out there resembled him in his hey days. This was boy was the Indian batting maestro, a prodigy then, Sachin Tendulkar, another cricketing legend.




Donald Bradman scored 29 test centuries including a couple of triple centuries from a total of 80 tests. He scored 6996 runs in total at an average of 99.94. His highest score was 334 not out. On the other hand in a first class career spanning 338 matches, he aggregated 28,067 runs at an average of 95.10 with 117 centuries and 452 not out, the highest score. He led an Australian cricket team that was referred to as 'invincibles' and was called by an Australian prime minister John Howard, 'the greatest living Australian.'

Donald Bradman breathed his last on 25 February in the year 2001 at his home town. Jessie Martha Menzies was the wife of Sir Donald Bradman, and the great man is survived by his son John Bradman.

Pros: Phenomenal batting average Tight technique Ability to score at a great pace

cons: Reluctance in hooking the ball. Concentric approach that invited the scorn of some team mates.

conclusion: Arguably the best batsman in cricketing history.

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