Sir Donald Bradman
Sir Donald Bradman, who dead at the age of 92, was the greatest cricketer of the 20th century and the greatest batsman ever lived. He was arguably the most famous athlete in the eyes of most Australians, as sports has played the major role in giving the young nation of Australia global standing, self-belief and a sense of identity. Sir Donald Bradman is an Australian sporting hero. His achievements on the cricket field from 1928 to 1948 are still among the world’s best. The tragic boxer of Les Darcy and champion galloper Phar Lap played a part, making up a trinity of Australian sporting legends, but nothing could match the phenomenon of Bradman.
His battling statistics are incredible, incomparably ahead of everyone else playing the game. He creases in major cricket for 338 times, but in 117 of those innings returned with a century. He was better than twice the ratios achieved by such greats such as Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Denis Compton. His first class average was 95.4, where his nearest rival is 71.
Most famously, he went out at the Oval in his last ten innings needing only four to finish with an average of 100, and was bowled second by Eric Hollies, of Warkwickshire, for a duck. It was as though the cricket god had reclaimed the invulnerability they had given him. His final average is 99.94 remains so resonant in cricket history, that the Australian Broadcasting Commission uses it as its post office box number.
Donald Bradman had embodied the Australian dream. He was a country boy, born in Cootamundra in rual New South Wales. Donald bradman was the blond, blue-eyed baby of the family, with other three older sisters and a brother. His father was a carpenter and farmer whose earnings was average. None of bradmans school friends lived there him, so in those solitary moments, he had invented a game that involved throwing a golf ball at the base of the family water tank and whacking it with a cricket stump. The ball fizzes off the tank at high speed at unpredictable angles.
Donald left school at fourteen and didnt started to play cricket seriously until he was eighteen. His headmaster had commented that he was a truthful, honest, industrious and unusually bright. He began work at a real estate agent in Bowral. In 1923-1924, he played no cricket at all and little in the following summer. Most of his free time was given to tennis. It was hard to believe that bradman was self-taught and never had any formal cricket coaching. However, in 1926, he was invited to Sydney to practise for the state squad. At the tender age of nineteen, he scored a century on debut for the New South Wales team. The following year he scored 1690 runs, a new Australian record.
He made 19 hundreds against England between 1928 and 1948, including two triple centuries and 6 double centuries. He was Australia’s captain between 1936 and 1948, during which time his side won 11 tests, to England’s 3. He kept the Ashes through 4 series. His best scoring stroke was probably the pull, played all along the ground in the arc from mid on to backward square leg. He was an excellent field, particularly in the covers, and a capable leg spin bowler. Benchmarks for cricketers are generally statistics, although sometimes these can be either inflated or undervalued. Attributes such as how good a team man someone is or in what circumstances does one perform at his best are just as vital in assessing the true worth of a player, but with Bradman you simply can’t ignore the phenomenal amount of runs and the outrageous average together with his ratio of one hundred every three innings.
However, during the 1930s, England had bowled at their opponents’ bodies and placed many fielders in short fielding positions backward of square leg, which is considered as illegal now. As the batsmen fended the ball away in an effort to protect themselves, the ball often flew off the edge of the bat into the waiting hands of the fielders. The English referred to this tactic as Leg Theory, but the Australians christened it as Bodyline.
Several Australian batsmen were injured because of this, some seriously. The English tactics caused a diplomatic row between the countries. After the tour was over, cricket officials introduced rules against such dangerous bowling, and restricted fielders to no more than two backward of square leg.
As bodyline was repudiated, Bradman resumed his stunning progess. He still dominates three Ashes series of the decade. Bradman’s bowling in tests is probably best known for causing his withdrawal from the 1938 Oval Test. His most illustrious Test wicket was Hammond (85) in the second innings of the 3rd test at Adelaide in 1933 – a match England won by 338 runs.
He was a master of timing; his eyes were extraordinary that he could make up his mind what shot to play in a spilt second. His judgment was impeccable which made every decision right. He eliminated the risk that comes from lofting the ball and hardly hit a six in consequence.
Bradmans marriage to Menzies on April 1932 was a triumph, which remained sixty-five years until her death in 1997. The Bradmans eldest son Ross was to live only a few hours, their daughter Shirley, developed cerebral palsy and their surviving son John had polio as a child. Despite all these mishaps, Bradman had pulled through his son and daughter surviving their father. Jessie was the woman behind the man who gave wise counsels, that had placed Australia on a conquering approach which felt less on the outskirts of the empire during the global great depression period in the 1930s. She had helped to inject a fighting spirit to combat or distract the sickening reality of Depression. Their family contained tragedy and hardships. Jessie had nursed her husband through many serious illness, the first during the bodyline in 1932-1933. He had serious appendicitis at the end of his triumphant 1934 tour of England, that there were even records reports of his death. Lady Bradman, who was respected and admired through out the world for not only her personal qualities and family values, died in September 1997, after 65 years of loving marriage. This had simplify for Sir Donald Bradman that the ‘best partnership of his life’ was over.
Donald Bradman was knighted in Melbourne at 1949, and went into the role cricketing elder statesman. He’s the only Australian ever knighted for services to the game of cricket. He gave up his stockbroking career and became a selector and administer, dealing firmly with the throwing crisis that convulsed the game at the end of 1950s. After being knighted in 1949, Sir Donald Bradman wanted a very private life. The Wisden panel in 2000 voted Sir Donald Bradman as the cricketer of the century, with unanimous hundred percent votes. He’ll be long remembered for his sporting skill, gentle manner and good humour. His reputation as a cricketer has never been questioned. The memory of Don Bradman is revered like no other wherever the great game of cricket is played. He is no doubt a legendary sportsman, which will remains enigmatic in our heart forever. Cricket has known great man and fine players, but there has been and can be, only one Bradman.