Don Bradman

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Sir
Donald Bradman
AC
Bradman in 1930
Personal information
Full nameDonald George Bradman
Born27 August 1908
CootamundraNew South Wales, Australia
Died25 February 2001 (aged 92)
Kensington Park, South Australia, Australia
NicknameThe Don, The Boy from Bowral, Braddles, the White Headley
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
BattingRight-handed
BowlingRight-arm leg break
RoleBatsman
International information
National sideAustralia (1928–1948)
Test debut (cap 124)30 November 1928 v England
Last Test18 August 1948 v England
Domestic team information
YearsTeam
1927–1934New South Wales
1935–1949South Australia
Career statistics
Competition Test First-class Matches 52 234 Runs scored 6,996 28,067 Batting average 99.94 95.14 100s/50s 29/13 117/69 Top score 334 452* Balls bowled 160 2,114 Wickets 2 36 Bowling average 36.00 37.97 5 wickets in innings 0 0 10 wickets in match 0 0 Best bowling 1/8 3/35 Catches/stumpings 32/– 131/1
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 4 December 2014

Sir Donald George BradmanAC (27 August 1908 – 25 February 2001), nicknamed “The Don”, was an Australian international cricketer, widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman of all time. Bradman’s career Test batting average of 99.94 has been cited as the greatest achievement by any sportsman in any major sport.

The story that the young Bradman practiced alone with a cricket stump and a golf ball is part of Australian folklore[GR1] . Bradman’s meteoric rise from bush cricket to the Australian Test team took just over two years. Before his 22nd birthday, he had set many records for top scoring, some of which still stand, and became Australia’s sporting idol at the height of the Great Depression[GR2] .

During a 20-year playing career, Bradman consistently scored at a level that made him, in the words of former Australia captain Bill Woodfull, “worth three batsmen to Australia”. A controversial set of tactics, known as Bodyline, was specially devised by the England team to curb his scoring. As a captain and administrator, Bradman was committed to attacking, entertaining cricket; he drew spectators in record numbers. He hated the constant adulation, however, and it affected how he dealt with others. The focus of attention on his individual performances strained relationships with some teammates, administrators and journalists, who thought him aloof and wary. Following an enforced hiatus due to the Second World War, he made a dramatic comeback, captaining an Australian team known as “The Invincibles[GR3]  on a record-breaking unbeaten tour of England.

A complex, highly driven man, not given to close personal relationships, Bradman retained a pre-eminent position in the game by acting as an administrator, selector and writer for three decades following his retirement. Even after he became reclusive in his declining years, his opinion was highly sought, and his status as a national icon was still recognised. Almost 50 years after his retirement as a Test player, in 1997, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia called him the “greatest living Australian”. Bradman’s image has appeared on postage stamps and coins, and a museum dedicated to his life was opened while he was still living. On the centenary of his birth, 27 August 2008, the Royal Australian Mint issued a $5 commemorative gold coin with Bradman’s image. In 2009, he was inducted posthumously into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

Early years

Bradman’s birthplace at Cootamundra is now a museum

Donald George Bradman was the youngest son of George and Emily (née Whatman) Bradman, and was born on 27 August 1908 at CootamundraNew South Wales (NSW). He had a brother, Victor, and three sisters—Islet, Lilian and Elizabeth May. Bradman was of English heritage on both sides of his family. His grandfather Charles Andrew Bradman left Withersfield, Suffolk, for Australia. When Bradman played at Cambridge in 1930 as a 21 year old on his first tour of England, he took the opportunity to trace his forebears in the region. Also, one of his great-grandfathers was one of the first Italians to migrate to Australia in 1826. Bradman’s parents lived in the hamlet of Yeo Yeo, near Stockinbingal. His mother, Emily, gave birth to him at the Cootamundra home of Granny Scholz, a midwife. That house is now the Bradman Birthplace Museum. Emily had hailed from Mittagong in the NSW Southern Highlands, and in 1911, when Don Bradman was about two-and-a-half years old, his parents decided to relocate to Bowral, close to Mittagong, to be closer to Emily’s family and friends, as life at Yeo Yeo was proving difficult.

Bradman practiced batting incessantly during his youth. He invented his own solo cricket game, using a cricket stump[GR4]  for a bat, and a golf ball. A water tank, mounted on a curved brick stand, stood on a paved area behind the family home. When hit into the curved brick facing of the stand, the ball rebounded at high speed and varying angles—and Bradman would attempt to hit it again. This form of practice developed his timing and reactions to a high degree. In more formal cricket, he hit his first century at the age of 12, with an undefeated 115 playing for Bowral Public School against Mittagong High School.

Bush cricketer

During the 1920–21 season, Bradman acted as scorer for the local Bowral team, captained by his uncle George Whatman. In October 1920, he filled in when the team was one man short, scoring 37* and 29* on debut. During the season, Bradman’s father took him to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) to watch the fifth Ashes Test match. On that day, Bradman formed an ambition. “I shall never be satisfied”, he told his father, “until I play on this ground”. Bradman left school in 1922 and went to work for a local real estate agent who encouraged his sporting pursuits by giving him time off when necessary. He gave up cricket in favour of tennis for two years, but resumed playing cricket in 1925–26.

Bradman in 1928

Bradman became a regular selection for the Bowral team; several outstanding performances earned him the attention of the Sydney daily press. Competing on matting-over-concrete pitches[GR5] , Bowral played other rural towns in the Berrima District competition. Against Wingello, a team that included the future Test bowler Bill O’Reilly, Bradman made 234. In the competition final against Moss Vale, which extended over five consecutive Saturdays, Bradman scored 320 not out. During the following Australian winter (1926), an ageing Australian team lost The Ashes in England, and a number of Test players retired. The New South Wales Cricket Association began a hunt for new talent. Mindful of Bradman’s big scores for Bowral, the association wrote to him, requesting his attendance at a practice session in Sydney.

He was subsequently chosen for the “Country Week” tournaments at both cricket and tennis, to be played during separate weeks. His boss presented him with an ultimatum: he could have only one week away from work, and therefore had to choose between the two sports. He chose cricket. Bradman’s performances during Country Week resulted in an invitation to play grade cricket[GR6]  in Sydney for St George in the 1926–27 season. He scored 110 on his debut, making his first century on a turf pitch. On 1 January 1927, he turned out for the NSW second team. For the remainder of the season, Bradman traveled the 130 kilometers (81 mi) from Bowral to Sydney every Saturday to play for St George.

First-class debut

The next season continued the rapid rise of the “Boy from Bowral”. Selected to replace the unfit Archie Jackson in the NSW team, Bradman made his first-class debut at the Adelaide Oval, aged 19. He secured the achievement of a hundred on debut, with an innings of 118 featuring what soon became his trademarks—fast footwork, calm confidence and rapid scoring. In the final match of the season, he made his first century at the SCG, against the Sheffield Shield champions Victoria. Despite his potential, Bradman was not chosen for the Australian second team to tour New Zealand.

Bradman decided that his chances for Test selection would be improved by moving to Sydney for the 1928–29 season, when England were to tour in defence of the Ashes. [GR7] Initially, he continued working in real estate, but later took a promotions job with the sporting goods retailer Mick Simmons Ltd. In the first match of the Sheffield Shield season, he scored a century in each innings against Queensland. He followed this with scores of 87 and 132 not out against the England touring team, and was rewarded with selection for the first Test, to be played at Brisbane.

Test career

Bradman is chaired off the ground by his opponents after scoring 452.

Playing in only his tenth first-class match, Bradman, nicknamed “Braddles” by his teammates, found his initial Test a harsh learning experience. Caught on a sticky wicket, Australia were all out for 66 in the second innings and lost by 675 runs (still a Test record). Following scores of 18 and 1, the selectors dropped Bradman to twelfth man for the Second Test. An injury to Bill Ponsford early in the match required Bradman to field as substitute while England amassed 636, following their 863 runs in the First Test. RS “Dick” Whitington        wrote, “… he had scored only nineteen himself and these experiences appear to have provided him with food for thought”. Recalled for the Third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Bradman scored 79 and 112 to become the youngest player to make a Test century, although the match was still lost. Another loss followed in the Fourth Test. Bradman reached 58 in the second innings and appeared set to guide the team to victory when he was run out. It was to be the only run out of his Test career. The losing margin was just 12 runs.

Bradman with his Wm. Sykes bat, in the early 1930s. The “Don Bradman Autograph” bat is still manufactured today by Sykes’ successor company, Slazenger.

The improving Australians did manage to win the Fifth and final Test. Bradman top-scored with 123 in the first innings, and was at the wicket in the second innings when his captain Jack Ryder hit the winning runs. Bradman completed the season with 1,690 first-class runs, averaging 93.88, and his first multiple century in a Sheffield Shield match, 340 not out against Victoria, set a new ground record for the SCG. Bradman averaged 113.28 in 1929–30. In a trial match to select the team that would tour England, he was last man out in the first innings for 124. As his team followed on, the skipper Bill Woodfull asked Bradman to keep the pads on and open the second innings. By the end of play, he was 205 not out, on his way to 225. Against Queensland at the SCG, Bradman set a then world record for first-class cricket by scoring 452 not out; he made his runs in only 415 minutes. Not long after the feat, he recalled:

On 434…I had a curious intuition…I seemed to sense that the ball would be a short-pitched one on the leg-stump, and I could almost feel myself getting ready to make my shot before the ball was delivered. Sure enough, it pitched exactly where I had anticipated, and, hooking it to the square-leg boundary, I established the only record upon which I had set my heart.

Although he was an obvious selection to tour England, Bradman’s unorthodox style raised doubts that he could succeed on the slower English pitches. Percy Fender wrote:

he will always be in the category of the brilliant if unsound, ones. Promise there is in Bradman in plenty, though watching him does not inspire one with any confidence that he desires to take the only course which will lead him to a fulfillment of that promise. He makes a mistake, then makes it again and again; he does not correct it, or look as if he were trying to do so. He seems to live for the exuberance of the moment.

The encomiums were not confined to his batting gifts; nor did the criticism extend to his character. “Australia has unearthed a champion”, said former Australian Test great Clem Hill[GR8] , “self-taught, with natural ability. But most important of all, with his heart in the right place.” Selector Dick Jones weighed in with the observation that it was “good to watch him talking to an old player, listening attentively to everything that is said and then replying with a modest ‘thank you’.”

1930 tour of England

England were favourites to win the 1930 Ashes series, and if the Australians were to exceed expectations, their young batsmen, Bradman and Jackson, needed to prosper. With his elegant batting technique, Jackson appeared the brighter prospect of the pair. However, Bradman began the tour with 236 at Worcester and went on to score 1,000 first-class runs by the end of May, the fifth player (and first Australian) to achieve this rare feat. In his first Test appearance in England, Bradman hit 131 in the second innings but England won the match. His batting reached a new level in the Second Test at Lord’s where he scored 254 as Australia won and levelled the series. Later in life, Bradman rated this the best innings of his career as, “practically without exception every ball went where it was intended to go”. Wisden noted his fast footwork and how he hit the ball “all round the wicket with power and accuracy”, as well as faultless concentration in keeping the ball on the ground.

In terms of runs scored, this performance was soon surpassed. In the Third Test, at Headingley, Bradman scored a century before lunch on 11 July, the first day of the Test match to equal the performances of Victor Trumper and Charlie Macartney[GR9] . In the afternoon, Bradman added another century between lunch and tea, before finishing the day on 309 not out. He remains the only Test player to pass 300 in one day’s play. His eventual score of 334 was a world-record, exceeding the previous mark of 325 by Andy Sandham. Bradman dominated the Australian innings; the second-highest tally was 77 by Alan Kippax. Businessman Arthur Whitelaw later presented Bradman with a cheque for £1,000 in appreciation of his achievement. The match ended in anti-climax as poor weather prevented a result, as it also did in the Fourth Test.

Bradman (second from the right, middle row) with the 1930 team

In the deciding Test at The Oval, England made 405. During an innings stretching over three days due to intermittent rain, Bradman made yet another multiple century, this time 232, which helped give Australia a big lead of 290 runs. In a crucial partnership with Archie Jackson, Bradman battled through a difficult session when England fast bowler Harold Larwood bowled short on a pitch enlivened by the rain. Wisden gave this period of play only a passing mention:

On the Wednesday morning the ball flew about a good deal, both batsmen frequently being hit on the body…on more than one occasion each player cocked the ball up dangerously but always, as it happened, just wide of the fieldsmen.

A number of English players and commentators noted Bradman’s discomfort in playing the short, rising delivery. The revelation came too late for this particular match, but was to have immense significance in the next Ashes series. Australia won the match by an innings and regained the Ashes. The victory made an impact in Australia. With the economy sliding toward depression and unemployment rapidly rising, the country found solace in sporting triumph. The story of a self-taught 22-year-old from the bush who set a series of records against the old rival made Bradman a national hero. The statistics Bradman achieved on the tour, especially in the Test matches, broke records for the day and some have stood the test of time. In all, Bradman scored 974 runs at an average of 139.14 during the Test series, with four centuries, including two double hundreds and a triple. As of 2018, no-one has matched or exceeded 974 runs or three double centuries in one Test series; the record of 974 runs exceeds the second-best performance by 69 runs and was achieved in two fewer innings. Bradman’s first-class tally, 2,960 runs (at an average of 98.66 with 10 centuries), was another enduring record: the most by any overseas batsman on a tour of England.

On the tour, the dynamic nature of Bradman’s batting contrasted sharply with his quiet, solitary off-field demeanour. He was described as aloof from his teammates and he did not offer to buy them a round of drinks, let alone share the money given to him by Whitelaw. Bradman spent a lot of his free time alone, writing, as he had sold the rights to a book. On his return to Australia, Bradman was surprised by the intensity of his reception; he became a “reluctant hero”. Mick Simmons wanted to cash in on their employee’s newly won fame. They asked Bradman to leave his teammates and attend official receptions they organised in Adelaide, Melbourne, Goulburn, his hometown Bowral and Sydney, where he received a brand new custom-built Chevrolet. At each stop, Bradman received a level of adulation that “embarrassed” him. This focus on individual accomplishment, in a team game, “… permanently damaged relationships with his contemporaries”. Commenting on Australia’s victory, the team’s vice-captain Vic Richardson[GR10]  said, “… we could have played any team without Bradman, but we could not have played the blind school without Clarrie Grimmett“. A modest Bradman can be heard in a 1930 recording saying “I have always endeavoured to do my best for the side, and the few centuries that have come my way have been achieved in the hope of winning matches. My one idea when going into bat was to make runs for Australia.”

Reluctant hero

Hundreds of onlookers gather as the Bradmans leave the church after their wedding ceremony at St Paul’s Church, Burwood, 30 April 1932.

In 1930–31, against the first West Indian side to visit Australia, Bradman’s scoring was more sedate than in England—although he did make 223 in 297 minutes in the Third Test at Brisbane and 152 in 154 minutes in the following Test at Melbourne. However, he scored quickly in a very successful sequence of innings against the South Africans in the Australian summer of 1931–32. For NSW against the tourists, he made 30, 135 and 219. In the Test matches, he scored 226 (277 minutes), 112 (155 minutes), 2 and 167 (183 minutes); his 299 not out in the Fourth Test, at Adelaide, set a new record for the highest score in a Test in Australia. Australia won nine of the ten Tests played over the two series.

At this point, Bradman had played 15 Test matches since the beginning of 1930, scoring 2,227 runs at an average of 131. He had played 18 innings, scoring 10 centuries, six of which had extended beyond 200. His overall scoring rate was 42 runs per hour, with 856 (or 38.5% of his tally) scored in boundaries. Significantly, he had not hit a six[GR11] which typified Bradman’s attitude: if he hit the ball along the ground, then it could not be caught. During this phase of his career, his youth and natural fitness allowed him to adopt a “machine-like” approach to batting. The South African fast bowler Sandy Bell described bowling to him as, “heart-breaking … with his sort of cynical grin, which rather reminds one of the Sphinx … he never seems to perspire”.

Between these two seasons, Bradman seriously contemplated playing professional cricket in England with the Lancashire League club Accrington, a move that, according to the rules of the day, would have ended his Test career. A consortium of three Sydney businesses offered an alternative. They devised a two-year contract whereby Bradman wrote for Associated Newspapers, broadcast on Radio 2UE and promoted the menswear retailing chain FJ Palmer and Son. However, the contract increased Bradman’s dependence on his public profile, making it more difficult to maintain the privacy that he ardently desired.

Bradman’s chaotic wedding to Jessie Menzies in April 1932 epitomised these new and unwelcome intrusions into his private life. The church “was under siege all throughout the day … uninvited guests stood on chairs and pews to get a better view”; police erected barriers that were broken down and many of those invited could not get a seat. Just weeks later, Bradman joined a private team organised by Arthur Mailey to tour the United States and Canada. He travelled with his wife, and the couple treated the trip as a honeymoon. Playing 51 games in 75 days, Bradman scored 3,779 runs at 102.1, with 18 centuries. Although the standard of play was not high, the effects of the amount of cricket Bradman had played in the three previous years, together with the strains of his celebrity status, began to show on his return home.

Bodyline

“As long as Australia has Bradman she will be invincible … It is almost time to request a legal limit on the number of runs Bradman should be allowed to make.”

News Chronicle, London

Within the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which administered English cricket at the time, few voices were more influential than “Plum” Warner‘s, who, when considering England’s response to Bradman, wrote that it “must evolve a new type of bowler and develop fresh ideas and strange tactics to curb his almost uncanny skill”. To that end, Warner orchestrated the appointment of Douglas Jardine as England captain in 1931, as a prelude to Jardine leading the 1932–33 tour to Australia, with Warner as team manager. Remembering that Bradman had struggled against bouncers during his 232 at The Oval in 1930, Jardine decided to combine traditional leg theory with short-pitched bowling to combat Bradman. He settled on the Nottinghamshire fast bowlers Harold Larwood and Bill Voce as the spearheads for his tactics. In support, the England selectors chose another three pacemen for the squad. The unusually high number of fast bowlers caused a lot of comment in both countries and roused Bradman’s own suspicions.

Bradman had other problems to deal with at this time; among these were bouts of illness from an undiagnosed malaise which had begun during the tour of North America, and that the Australian Board of Control[GR12]  had initially refused permission for him to write a column for the Sydney Sun. Bradman, who had signed a two-year contract with the newspaper, threatened to withdraw from cricket to honour his contract when the board denied him permission to write; eventually, the paper released Bradman from the contract, in a victory for the board. In three first-class games against England before the Tests, Bradman averaged just 17.16 in 6 innings. Jardine decided to give the new tactics a trial in only one game, a fixture against an Australian XI at Melbourne. In this match, Bradman faced the leg theory and later warned local administrators that trouble was brewing if it continued. He withdrew from the First Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground amid rumours that he had suffered a nervous breakdown. Despite his absence, England employed what were already becoming known as the Bodyline tactics against the Australian batsmen and won an ill-tempered match.

The famous duck: Bradman bowled by Bowes at the MCG, in front of a world record crowd assembled to see Bradman defeat Bodyline

The public clamored for the return of Bradman to defeat Bodyline: “he was the batsman who could conquer this cankerous bowling … ‘Bradmania’, amounting almost to religious fervour, demanded his return”. Recovered from his indisposition, Bradman returned to the side in Alan Kippax‘s position. A world record crowd of 63,993 at the MCG saw Bradman come to the crease on the first day of the Second Test with the score at 2/67. A standing ovation ensued that delayed play for several minutes. Bradman anticipated receiving a bouncer as his first ball and, as the bowler delivered, he moved across his stumps to play the hook shot. The ball failed to rise and Bradman dragged it onto his stumps; the first-ball duck was his first in a Test. The crowd fell into stunned silence as he walked off. However, Australia took a first innings lead in the match, and another record crowd on 2 January 1933 watched Bradman hit a counter-attacking second innings century. His unbeaten 103 (from 146 balls) in a team total of 191 helped set England a target of 251 to win. Bill O’Reilly and Bert Ironmonger[GR13]  bowled Australia to a series-levelling victory amid hopes that Bodyline was beaten.

The Third Test at the Adelaide Oval proved pivotal. There were angry crowd scenes after the Australian captain Bill Woodfull and wicket-keeper Bert Oldfield were hit by bouncers. An apologetic Plum Warner entered the Australian dressing room and was rebuked by Woodfull. Woodfull’s remarks (that “…there are two teams out there and only one of them is playing cricket”) were leaked to the press, and Warner and others attributed this to Australian opening batsman Jack Fingleton, however for many years (even after Fingleton’s death) a bitter war of accusation passed between Fingleton and Bradman as to who was the real source of the leak. In a cable to the MCC, the Australian Board of Control repeated the allegation of poor sportsmanship directed at Warner by Woodfull. With the support of the MCC, England continued with Bodyline despite Australian protests. The tourists won the last three Tests convincingly and regained the Ashes. Bradman caused controversy with his own tactics. Always seeking to score, and with the leg side[GR14]  packed with fielders, he often backed away and hit the ball into the vacant half of the outfield with unorthodox shots reminiscent of tennis or golf. This brought him 396 runs (at 56.57) for the series and plaudits for attempting to find a solution to Bodyline, although his series average was just 57% of his career mean. Jack Fingleton was in no doubt that Bradman’s game altered irrevocably as a consequence of Bodyline, writing:

Bodyline was specially prepared, nurtured for and expended on him and, in consequence, his technique underwent a change quicker than might have been the case with the passage of time. Bodyline plucked something vibrant from his art.

The constant glare of celebrity and the tribulations of the season forced Bradman to reappraise his life outside the game and to seek a career away from his cricketing fame. Harry Hodgetts, a South Australian delegate to the Board of Control, offered Bradman work as a stockbroker if he would relocate to Adelaide and captain South Australia (SA). Unknown to the public, the SA Cricket Association (SACA) instigated Hodgetts’ approach and subsidized Bradman’s wage. Although his wife was hesitant about moving, Bradman eventually agreed to the deal in February 1934.

Declining health and a brush with death

In his farewell season for NSW, Bradman averaged 132.44, his best yet. He was appointed vice-captain for the 1934 tour of England[GR15] . However, “he was unwell for much of the [English] summer, and reports in newspapers hinted that he was suffering from heart trouble”. Although he again started with a double century at Worcester, his famed concentration soon deserted him. Wisden wrote:

…there were many occasions on which he was out to wild strokes. Indeed at one period he created the impression that, to some extent, he had lost control of himself and went in to bat with an almost complete disregard for anything in the shape of a defensive stroke.

Cigarette card distributed during the 1934 Ashes series

At one stage, Bradman went 13 first-class innings without a century, the longest such spell of his career, prompting suggestions that Bodyline had eroded his confidence and altered his technique. After three Tests, the series was one–one and Bradman had scored 133 runs in five innings. The Australians travelled to Sheffield and played a warm up game before the Fourth Test. Bradman started slowly and then, “… the old Bradman [was] back with us, in the twinkling of an eye, almost”. He went on to make 140, with the last 90 runs coming in just 45 minutes. On the opening day of the Fourth Test at Headingley (Leeds), England were out for 200, but Australia slumped to 3/39, losing the third wicket from the last ball of the day. Listed to bat at number five, Bradman would start his innings the next day.

That evening, Bradman declined an invitation to dinner from Neville Cardus, telling the journalist that he wanted an early night because the team needed him to make a double century the next day. Cardus pointed out that his previous innings on the ground was 334, and the law of averages[GR16]  was against another such score. Bradman told Cardus, “I don’t believe in the law of averages”. In the event, Bradman batted all of the second day and into the third, putting on a then world record partnership of 388 with Bill Ponsford. When he was finally out for 304 (473 balls, 43 fours and 2 sixes), Australia had a lead of 350 runs, but rain prevented them from forcing a victory. The effort of the lengthy innings stretched Bradman’s reserves of energy, and he did not play again until the Fifth Test at The Oval, the match that would decide the Ashes.

In the first innings at The Oval, Bradman and Ponsford recorded an even more massive partnership, this time 451 runs. It had taken them less than a month to break the record they had set at Headingley; this new world record was to last 57 years. Bradman’s share of the stand was 244 from 271 balls, and the Australian total of 701 set up victory by 562 runs. For the fourth time in five series, the Ashes changed hands. England would not recover them again until after Bradman’s retirement.

Seemingly restored to full health, Bradman blazed two centuries in the last two games of the tour. However, when he returned to London to prepare for the trip home, he experienced severe abdominal pain. It took a doctor more than 24 hours to diagnose acute appendicitis and a surgeon operated immediately. Bradman lost a lot of blood during the four-hour procedure and peritonitis[GR17]  set in. Penicillin and sulphonamides were still experimental treatments at this time; peritonitis was usually a fatal condition. On 25 September, the hospital issued a statement that Bradman was struggling for his life and that blood donors were needed urgently.

“The effect of the announcement was little short of spectacular”. The hospital could not deal with the number of donors, and closed its switchboard in the face of the avalanche of telephone calls generated by the news. Journalists were asked by their editors to prepare obituaries. Teammate Bill O’Reilly took a call from King George V’s secretary asking that the King be kept informed of the situation. Jessie Bradman started the month-long journey to London as soon as she received the news. En route, she heard a rumor that her husband had died. A telephone call clarified the situation and by the time she reached London, Bradman had begun a slow recovery. He followed medical advice to convalesce, taking several months to return to Australia and missing the 1934–35 Australian season.

Internal politics and the Test captaincy

Bradman walking out to bat in the Third Test against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1937. His 270 runs won the match for Australia and has been rated the greatest innings of all time.

There was off-field intrigue in Australian cricket during the antipodean winter of 1935. Australia, scheduled to make a tour of South Africa at the end of the year, needed to replace the retired Bill Woodfull as captain. The Board of Control wanted Bradman to lead the team, yet, on 8 August, the board announced Bradman’s withdrawal from the team due to a lack of fitness. Surprisingly, in the light of this announcement, Bradman led the South Australian team in a full program of matches that season.

The captaincy was given to Vic Richardson, Bradman’s predecessor as South Australian captain. Cricket author Chris Harte’s analysis of the situation is that a prior (unspecified) commercial agreement forced Bradman to remain in Australia. Harte attributed an ulterior motive to his relocation: the off-field behaviour of Richardson and other South Australian players had displeased the South Australia Cricket Association (SACA), which was looking for new leadership. To help improve discipline, Bradman became a committeeman of the SACA, and a selector of the South Australian and Australian teams. He took his adopted state to its first Sheffield Shield [GR18] title for 10 years, Bradman weighing in with personal contributions of 233 against Queensland and 357 against Victoria. He finished the season with 369 (in 233 minutes), a South Australian record, made against Tasmania. The bowler who dismissed him, Reginald Townley, would later become the leader of the Tasmanian Liberal Party.

Australia defeated South Africa 4–0 and senior players such as Bill O’Reilly were pointed in their comments about the enjoyment of playing under Richardson’s captaincy. A group of players who were openly hostile toward Bradman formed during the tour. For some, the prospect of playing under Bradman was daunting, as was the knowledge that he would additionally be sitting in judgement of their abilities in his role as a selector.

To start the new season, the Test side played a “Rest of Australia” team, captained by Bradman, at Sydney in early October 1936. The Test XI suffered a big defeat, due to Bradman’s 212 and a haul of 12 wickets taken by leg-spinner[GR19]  Frank Ward. Bradman let the members of the Test team know that despite their recent success, the team still required improvement. Shortly afterwards, Bradman’s first child was born on 28 October but died the next day. He took time out of cricket for two weeks and on his return made 192 in three hours against Victoria in the last match before the beginning of the Ashes series.

The Test selectors made five changes to the team who had played in the previous Test match. Significantly, Australia’s most successful bowler Clarrie Grimmett was replaced by Ward, one of four players making their debut. Bradman’s role in Grimmett’s omission from the team was controversial and it became a theme that dogged Bradman as Grimmett continued to be prolific in domestic cricket while his successors were ineffective—he was regarded as having finished the veteran bowler’s Test career in a political purge.

Bradman and England captain Gubby Allen toss at the start of the 1936–37 Ashes series. The five Tests drew more than 950,000 spectators including a world record 350,534 to the Third Test at Melbourne.

Australia fell to successive defeats in the opening two Tests, Bradman making two ducks in his four innings, and it seemed that the captaincy was affecting his form. The selectors made another four changes to the team for the Third Test at Melbourne.

Bradman won the toss on New Year’s Day 1937, but again failed with the bat, scoring just 13. The Australians could not take advantage of a pitch that favoured batting, and finished the day at 6/181. On the second day, rain dramatically altered the course of the game. With the sun drying the pitch (in those days, covers could not be used during matches) Bradman declared to get England in to bat while the pitch was “sticky[GR20] “; England also declared to get Australia back in, conceding a lead of 124. Bradman countered by reversing his batting order to protect his run-makers while conditions improved. The ploy worked and Bradman went in at number seven. In an innings spread over three days, he battled influenza while scoring 270 off 375 balls, sharing a record partnership of 346 with Jack Fingleton, and Australia went on to victory. In 2001, Wisden rated this performance as the best Test match innings of all time.

The next Test, at the Adelaide Oval, was fairly even until Bradman played another patient second innings, making 212 from 395 balls. Australia levelled the series when the erratic left-arm spinner “Chuck” Fleetwood-Smith bowled Australia to victory. In the series-deciding Fifth Test, Bradman returned to a more aggressive style in top-scoring with 169 (off 191 balls) in Australia’s 604 and Australia won by an innings. Australia’s achievement of winning a Test series after outright losses in the first two matches has never been repeated in Test cricket.

End of an era

During the 1938 tour of England, Bradman played the most consistent cricket of his career. He needed to score heavily as England had a strengthened batting line-up, while the Australian bowling was over-reliant on O’Reilly. Grimmett was overlooked, but Jack Fingleton made the team, so the clique of anti-Bradman players remained. Playing 26 innings on tour, Bradman recorded 13 centuries (a new Australian record) and again made 1,000 first-class runs before the end of May, becoming the only player to do so twice. In scoring 2,429 runs, Bradman achieved the highest average ever recorded in an English season: 115.66.

Bradman (left, with his vice-captain Stan McCabe) walks out to bat at Perth, during a preliminary match to the 1938 tour of England. Bradman scored 102.

In the First Test, England amassed a big first innings score and looked likely to win, but Stan McCabe made 232 for Australia, a performance Bradman rated as the best he had ever seen. With Australia forced to follow-on, Bradman fought hard to ensure McCabe’s effort was not in vain, and he secured the draw with 144 not out. It was the slowest Test hundred of his career and he played a similar innings of 102 not out in the next Test as Australia struggled to another draw. Rain completely washed out the Third Test at Old Trafford[GR21] .

Australia’s opportunity came at Headingley, a Test described by Bradman as the best he ever played in. England batted first and made 223. During the Australian innings, Bradman backed himself by opting to bat on in poor light conditions, reasoning that Australia could score more runs in bad light on a good pitch than on a rain affected pitch in good light, when he had the option to go off. He scored 103 out of a total of 242 and the gamble paid off, as it meant there was sufficient time to push for victory when an England collapse left them a target of only 107 to win. Australia slumped to 4/61, with Bradman out for 16. An approaching storm threatened to wash the game out, but the poor weather held off and Australia managed to secure the win, a victory that retained the Ashes. For the only time in his life, the tension of the occasion got to Bradman and he could not watch the closing stages of play, a reflection of the pressure that he felt all tour: he described the captaincy as “exhausting” and said he “found it difficult to keep going”.

The euphoria of securing the Ashes preceded Australia’s heaviest defeat. At The Oval, England amassed a world record of 7/903 and their opening batsman Len Hutton scored an individual world record, by making 364. In an attempt to relieve the burden on his bowlers, Bradman took a rare turn at bowling. During his third over[GR22] , he fractured his ankle and teammates carried him from the ground. With Bradman injured and Fingleton unable to bat because of a leg muscle strain, Australia were thrashed by an innings and 579 runs, which remains the largest margin in Test cricket history. Unfit to complete the tour, Bradman left the team in the hands of vice-captain Stan McCabe. At this point, Bradman felt that the burden of captaincy would prevent him from touring England again, although he did not make his doubts public.

Despite the pressure of captaincy, Bradman’s batting form remained supreme. An experienced, mature player now commonly called “The Don” had replaced the blitzing style of his early days as the “Boy from Bowral”. In 1938–39, he led South Australia to the Sheffield Shield and made a century in six consecutive innings to equal CB Fry[GR23] s world record. Bradman totalled 21 first-class centuries in 34 innings, from the beginning of the 1938 tour of England (including preliminary games in Australia) until early 1939.

The next season, Bradman made an abortive bid to join the Victoria state side. The Melbourne Cricket Club advertised the position of club secretary and he was led to believe that if he applied, he would get the job. The position, which had been held by Hugh Trumble until his death in August 1938, was one of the most prestigious jobs in Australian cricket. The annual salary of £1,000 would make Bradman financially secure while allowing him to retain a connection with the game. On 18 January 1939, the club’s committee, on the casting vote of the chairman, chose former Test batsman Vernon Ransford over Bradman.

The 1939–40 season was Bradman’s most productive ever for SA: 1,448 runs at an average of 144.8. He made three double centuries, including 251 not out against NSW, the innings that he rated the best he ever played in the Sheffield Shield, as he tamed Bill O’Reilly at the height of his form. However, it was the end of an era. The outbreak of World War II led to the indefinite postponement of all cricket tours, and the suspension of the Sheffield Shield competition.

Troubled war years

Donald Bradman
AllegianceAustralia
Service/branchRoyal Australian Air Force (1940–41)
Australian Army (1941)
Years of service1940–1941
RankLieutenant
Service numberS1388
UnitArmy School of Physical Training
Battles/warsSecond World War

Bradman’s high backlift and lengthy forward stride were characteristic.

Bradman joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on 28 June 1940 and was passed fit for air crew duty. The RAAF had more recruits than it could equip and train and Bradman spent four months in Adelaide before the Governor-General of Australia, Lord Gowrie[GR24] , persuaded Bradman to transfer to the army, a move that was criticised as a safer option for him. Given the rank of lieutenant, he was posted to the Army School of Physical Training at Frankston, Victoria, to act as a divisional supervisor of physical training. The exertion of the job aggravated his chronic muscular problems, diagnosed as fibrositis[GR25] . Surprisingly, in light of his batting prowess, a routine army test revealed that Bradman had poor eyesight.

Invalided out of service in June 1941, Bradman spent months recuperating, unable even to shave himself or comb his hair due to the extent of the muscular pain he suffered. He resumed stockbroking during 1942. In his biography of Bradman, Charles Williams expounded the theory that the physical problems were psychosomatic, induced by stress and possibly depression; Bradman read the book’s manuscript and did not disagree. Had any cricket been played at this time, he would not have been available. Although he found some relief in 1945 when referred to the Melbourne masseur Ern Saunders, Bradman permanently lost the feeling in the thumb and index finger of his (dominant) right hand.

In June 1945, Bradman faced a financial crisis when the firm of Harry Hodgetts collapsed due to fraud and embezzlement. Bradman moved quickly to set up his own business, utilising Hodgetts’ client list and his old office in Grenfell Street, Adelaide. The fallout led to a prison term for Hodgetts, and left a stigma attached to Bradman’s name in the city’s business community for many years.

However, the SA Cricket Association had no hesitation in appointing Bradman as their delegate to the Board of Control in place of Hodgetts. Now working alongside some of the men he had battled in the 1930s, Bradman quickly became a leading light in the administration of the game. With the resumption of international cricket, he was once more appointed a Test selector, and played a major role in planning for post-war cricket.

“The ghost of a once great cricketer”

Bradman and Barnes leave the field for an adjournment as both head towards 234.

Bradman during an interstate series at Adelaide Oval, 31 October 1946.

In 1945–46, Bradman suffered regular bouts of fibrositis while coming to terms with increased administrative duties and the establishment of his business. He played for South Australia in two matches to help with the re-establishment of first-class cricket and later described his batting as “painstaking”. Batting against the Australian Services cricket team,[GR26]  Bradman scored 112 in less than two hours, yet Dick Whitington (playing for the Services) wrote, “I have seen today the ghost of a once great cricketer”. Bradman declined a tour of New Zealand and spent the winter of 1946 wondering whether he had played his last match. “With the English team due to arrive for the 1946–47 Ashes series, the media and the public were anxious to know if Bradman would lead Australia.” His doctor recommended against a return to the game. Encouraged by his wife, Bradman agreed to play in lead-up fixtures to the Test series. After hitting two centuries, Bradman made himself available for the First Test at The Gabba.

Controversy emerged on the first day of the First Test at Brisbane. After compiling an uneasy 28 runs, Bradman hit a ball to the gully fieldsman, Jack Ikin. “An appeal for a catch was denied in the umpire’s contentious ruling that it was a bump ball[GR27] “. At the end of the over, England captain Wally Hammond spoke with Bradman and criticised him for not “walking“; “from then on the series was a cricketing war just when most people desired peace”, Whitington wrote. Bradman regained his finest pre-war form in making 187, followed by 234 during the Second Test at Sydney (Sid Barnes also scored 234 during the innings, many in a still standing 405 run 5th Wicket partnership with Bradman. Barnes later recalled that he purposely got out on 234 because “it wouldn’t be right for someone to make more runs than Bradman”). Australia won both matches by an innings. Jack Fingleton speculated that had the decision at Brisbane gone against him, Bradman would have retired, such were his fitness problems. In the remainder of the series, Bradman made three half-centuries in six innings, but was unable to make another century; nevertheless, his team won handsomely, 3–0. He was the leading batsman on either side, with an average of 97.14. Nearly 850,000 spectators watched the Tests, which helped lift public spirits after the war.

Century of centuries and “The Invincibles”

India made its first tour of Australia in the 1947–48 season. On 15 November, Bradman made 172 against them for an Australian XI at Sydney, his 100th first-class century. The first non-Englishman to achieve the milestone, Bradman remains the only Australian to have done so. In five Tests, he scored 715 runs (at 178.75 average). His last double century (201) came at Adelaide, and he scored a century in each innings of the Melbourne Test. On the eve of the Fifth Test, he announced that the match would be his last in Australia, although he would tour England as a farewell.

Australia had assembled one of the great teams of cricket history. Bradman made it known that he wanted to go through the tour unbeaten, a feat never before accomplished. English spectators were drawn to the matches knowing that it would be their last opportunity to see Bradman in action. RC Robertson-Glasgow observed of Bradman that:

Next to Mr. Winston Churchill, he was the most celebrated man in England during the summer of 1948. His appearances throughout the country were like one continuous farewell matinée. At last his batting showed human fallibility. Often, especially at the start of the innings, he played where the ball wasn’t, and spectators rubbed their eyes.

Despite his waning powers, Bradman compiled 11 centuries on the tour, amassing 2,428 runs (average 89.92). His highest score of the tour (187) came against Essex, when Australia compiled a world record of 721 runs in a day. In the Tests, he scored a century at Trent Bridge, but the performance most like his pre-war exploits came in the Fourth Test at Headingley. England declared on the last morning of the game, setting Australia a world record 404 runs to win in only 345 minutes on a heavily worn pitch. In partnership with Arthur Morris (182), Bradman reeled off 173 not out and the match was won with 15 minutes to spare. The journalist Ray Robinson called the victory “the ‘finest ever’ in its conquest of seemingly insuperable odds”.

In the final Test at The Oval, Bradman walked out to bat in Australia’s first innings. He received a standing ovation from the crowd and three cheers from the opposition. His Test batting average stood at 101.39. Facing the wrist-spin[GR28]  of Eric Hollies, Bradman pushed forward to the second ball that he faced, was deceived by a googly, and bowled between bat and pad for a duck[GR29] . An England batting collapse resulted in an innings defeat, denying Bradman the opportunity to bat again and so his career average finished at 99.94; if he had scored just four runs in his last innings, it would have been 100. A story developed over the years that claimed Bradman missed the ball because of tears in his eyes, a claim Bradman denied for the rest of his life.

The Australian team won the Ashes 4–0, completed the tour unbeaten, and entered history as “The Invincibles[GR30] “. Just as Bradman’s legend grew, rather than diminished, over the years, so too has the reputation of the 1948 team. For Bradman, it was the most personally fulfilling period of his playing days, as the divisiveness of the 1930s had passed. He wrote:

Knowing the personnel, I was confident that here at last was the great opportunity which I had longed for. A team of cricketers whose respect and loyalty were unquestioned, who would regard me in a fatherly sense and listen to my advice, follow my guidance and not question my handling of affairs…there are no longer any fears that they will query the wisdom of what you do. The result is a sense of freedom to give full reign to your own creative ability and personal judgment.

With Bradman now retired from professional cricket, RC Robertson-Glasgow wrote of the English reaction “… a miracle has been removed from among us. So must ancient Italy have felt when she heard of the death of Hannibal“.

Statistical summary

Test match performance

This is the complete graphical representation of the test cricket record of Don Bradman. Individual innings are represented by the blue and red (not out) bars; the green line is his career batting average.

 BattingBowling
OppositionMatchesRunsAverageHigh Score100 / 50RunsWicketsAverageBest (Inns)
 England375,02889.7833419/1251151.001/23
 India5715178.752014/140 – –
 South Africa5806201.50299*4/020 – –
 West Indies544774.502232/015115.001/8
Overall526,99699.9433429/1372236.001/8

First-class performance

InningsNot OutHighestAggregateAverage100s100s/inns
Ashes Tests6373345,02889.781930.2%
All Tests80103346,99699.942936.3%
Sheffield Shield9615452*8,926110.193637.5%
All First Class33843452*28,06795.1411734.6%
Grade93173036,59886.802830.1%
All Second Class33164320*22,66484.809428.4%
Grand Total669107452*50,73190.2721131.5%
Statistics from Bradman Museum.

Test records

Bradman still holds the following significant records for Test match cricket:

  • Highest career batting average (minimum 20 innings): 99.94
  • Highest series batting average (minimum 4-Test series): 201.50 (1931–32); also second-highest: 178.75 (1947–48)
  • Highest Test batting rating[GR31] : 961.
  • Highest ratio of centuries per innings played: 36.25% (29 centuries from 80 innings)
  • Highest ratio of double centuries per innings played: 15.0% (12 double centuries from 80 innings)
  • Highest 5th wicket partnership: 405 (with Sid Barnes, 1946–47)
  • Highest score by a number 7 batsman: 270 (1936–37)
  • Most runs against one opponent: 5,028 (v England)
  • Most runs in one series: 974 (1930)
  • Most times of scoring a century in a single session of play: 6 (1 pre lunch, 2 lunch-tea, 3 tea-stumps)
  • Most runs in one day’s play: 309 (1930)
  • Most double centuries: 12
  • Most double centuries in a series: 3 (1930)
  • Most triple centuries: 2 (equal with Chris GayleBrian Lara and Virender Sehwag)
  • Most consecutive matches in which he made a century: 6 (the last three Tests in 1936–37, and the first three Tests in 1938)
  • Fewest matches required to reach 1000 (7 matches), 2000 (15 matches), 3000 (23 matches), 4000 (31 matches), 5000 (36 matches) and 6000 (45 matches) Test runs.
  • Fewest innings required to reach 2000 (22 innings), 3000 (33 innings), 4000 (48 innings), 5000 (56 innings) and 6000 (68 innings) Test runs.
  • First batsman in Test history to score 2 triple centuries.
  • First and only batsman to have remained unbeaten on 299 in a Test innings.
  • First batsman to score a Test triple century (304) at number 5 position; this remains the second highest Test score for any number 5 batsman.

Cricket context

Completed Test career batting averages
Don Bradman (AUS)99.94
Adam Voges (AUS)61.87
Graeme Pollock (RSA)60.97
George Headley (WI)60.83
Herbert Sutcliffe (ENG)60.73
Eddie Paynter (ENG)59.23
Ken Barrington (ENG)58.67
Everton Weekes (WI)58.61
Wally Hammond (ENG)58.45
Garfield Sobers (WI)57.78
Source: Cricinfo
Qualification: 20 completed innings,
career completed.

Bradman’s Test batting average of 99.94 has become one of cricket’s most famous, iconic statistics. No other player who has played more than 20 Test match innings has finished their career with a Test average of more than 62. Bradman scored centuries at a rate better than one every three innings—in 80 Test innings, Bradman scored 29 centuries. Only 11 players have since surpassed his total, all at a much slower rate: the next fastest player to reach 29 centuries, Sachin Tendulkar, required nearly twice as long (148 innings) to do so.

In addition, Bradman converted 41% of his centuries into double centuries: his total of 12 Test double hundreds—comprising 15% of his innings—remains the most achieved by any Test batsman and was accumulated faster than any other total. For comparison, the next highest totals of Test double hundreds are Kumar Sangakkara‘s 11 in 223 innings (4.9%), Brian Lara‘s 9 in 232 innings (3.9%), and Wally Hammond‘s 7 in 140 innings (5%); the next highest rate of scoring Test double centuries was achieved by Vinod Kambli, whose 21 innings included 2 double centuries (9.5%).

World sport context

Wisden hailed Bradman as, “the greatest phenomenon in the history of cricket, indeed in the history of all ball games”. Statistician Charles Davis analysed the statistics for several prominent sportsmen by comparing the number of standard deviations that they stand above the mean for their sport. The top performers in his selected sports are:

AthleteSportStatisticStandard
deviations
BradmanCricketBatting average4.4
PeléAssociation footballGoals per game3.7
Ty CobbBaseballBatting average3.6
Jack NicklausGolfMajor titles3.5
Michael JordanBasketballPoints per game3.4

The statistics show that “no other athlete dominates an international sport to the extent that Bradman does cricket”. In order to post a similarly dominant career statistic as Bradman, a baseball batter would need a career batting average of .392, while a basketball player would need to score an average of 43.0 points per game over their career. The respective records are .366 and 30.1.

When Bradman died, Time allocated a space in its “Milestones” column for an obituary:

…Australian icon considered by many to be the pre-eminent sportsman of all time…One of Australia’s most beloved heroes, he was revered abroad as well. When Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, his first question to an Australian visitor was, “Is Sir Donald Bradman still alive?”

Playing style

Bradman hooks English left-arm fast bowler Bill Voce during the 1936–37 series. The position of Bradman’s left foot in relation to the stumps is an example of how he used the crease when batting.

Bradman’s early development was shaped by the high bounce of the ball on matting-over-concrete pitches. He favoured “horizontal-bat” shots (such as the hook, pull and cut) to deal with the bounce and devised a unique grip on the bat handle that would accommodate these strokes without compromising his ability to defend. Employing a side-on stance at the wicket, Bradman kept perfectly still as the bowler ran in. His backswing had a “crooked” look that troubled his early critics, but he resisted entreaties to change. His backswing kept his hands in close to the body, leaving him perfectly balanced and able to change his stroke mid-swing, if need be. Another telling factor was the decisiveness of Bradman’s footwork. He “used the crease” by either coming metres down the pitch to drive, or playing so far back that his feet ended up level with the stumps when playing the cut, hook or pull.

Bradman’s game evolved with experience. He temporarily adapted his technique during the Bodyline series, deliberately moving around the crease in an attempt to score from the short-pitched deliveries. At his peak, in the mid-1930s, he had the ability to switch between a defensive and attacking approach as the occasion demanded. After the Second World War, he adjusted to bat within the limitations set by his age, becoming a steady “accumulator” of runs. However, Bradman never truly mastered batting on sticky wicketsWisden commented, “[i]f there really is a blemish on his amazing record it is … the absence of a significant innings on one of those ‘sticky dogs’ of old”.

After cricket

After his return to Australia, Bradman played in his own Testimonial match at Melbourne, scoring his 117th and last century, and receiving £9,342 in proceeds. In the 1949 New Year Honours, he was appointed Knight Bachelor for his services to the game, becoming the only Australian cricketer ever to be knighted. He commented that he “would have preferred to remain just Mister”. The following year he published a memoir, Farewell to Cricket. Bradman accepted offers from the Daily Mail to travel with, and write about, the 1953 and 1956 Australian teams in England. The Art of Cricket, his final book published in 1958, is an instructional manual.

Bradman retired from his stockbroking business in June 1954, depending on the “comfortable” income earned as a board member of 16 publicly listed companies. His highest profile affiliation was with Argo Investments Limited, where he was chairman for a number of years. Charles Williams commented that, “[b]usiness was excluded on medical grounds, [so] the only sensible alternative was a career in the administration of the game which he loved and to which he had given most of his active life”.

Bradman was honored at a number of cricket grounds, notably when his portrait was hung in the Long Room at Lord’s; until Shane Warne[GR32] ‘s portrait was added in 2005, Bradman was one of just three Australians to be honored in this way. Bradman inaugurated a “Bradman Stand” at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January 1974; the Adelaide Oval also opened a Bradman Stand in 1990, which housed new media and corporate facilities. The Oval’s Bradman Stand was demolished in 2013 as the stadium underwent an extensive re-development. Later in 1974, he attended a Lord’s Taverners function in London where he experienced heart problems, which forced him to limit his public appearances to select occasions only. With his wife, Bradman returned to Bowral in 1976, where the new cricket ground was named in his honor. He gave the keynote speech at the historic Centenary Test at Melbourne in 1977.

On 16 June 1979, the Australian government awarded Bradman the nation’s second-highest civilian honour at that time, Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), “in recognition of service to the sport of cricket and cricket administration”. In 1980, he resigned from the ACB, to lead a more secluded life.

Administrative career

In addition to acting as one of South Australia’s delegates to the Board of Control from 1945 to 1980, Bradman was a committee member of the SACA between 1935 and 1986. It is estimated that he attended 1,713 SACA meetings during this half century of service. Aside from two years in the early 1950s, he filled a selector’s berth for the Test team between 1936 and 1971.

Cricket saw an increase in defensive play during the 1950s. As a selector, Bradman favoured attacking, positive cricketers who entertained the paying public. He formed an alliance with Australian captain Richie Benaud,[GR33]  seeking more attractive play, with some success. He served two high-profile periods as chairman of the board of Control, in 1960–63 and 1969–72. During the first, he dealt with the growing prevalence of illegal bowling actions in the game, a problem that he adjudged “the most complex I have known in cricket, because it is not a matter of fact but of opinion”. The major controversy of his second stint was a proposed tour of Australia by South Africa in 1971–72. On Bradman’s recommendation, the series was cancelled. Cricket journalist Michael Coward said of Bradman as an administrator:

Bradman was more than a cricket player nonpareil. He was…an astute and progressive administrator; an expansive thinker, philosopher and writer on the game. Indeed, in some respects, he was as powerful, persuasive and influential a figure off the ground as he was on it.

In the late 1970s, Bradman played an important role during the World Series Cricket schism as a member of a special Australian Cricket Board committee formed to handle the crisis. He was criticised for not airing an opinion, but he dealt with World Series Cricket far more pragmatically than other administrators. Richie Benaud described Bradman as “a brilliant administrator and businessman”, warning that he was not to be underestimated. As Australian captain, Ian Chappell[GR34]  fought with Bradman over the issue of player remuneration in the early 1970s and has suggested that Bradman was parsimonious:

I…thought to myself, ‘Ian, did you just ask Bradman to fill your wallet with money?’ Bradman’s harangue confirmed my suspicions that the players were going to have a hard time extracting more money from the ACB.

Later years and death

After his wife’s death in 1997, Bradman suffered “a discernible and not unexpected wilting of spirit”. The next year, on his 90th birthday, he hosted a meeting with his two favourite modern players, Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar, but he was not seen in his familiar place at the Adelaide Oval again. Hospitalized with pneumonia in December 2000, he returned home in the New Year and died there on 25 February 2001, aged 92.

A memorial service to mark Bradman’s life was held on 25 March 2001 at St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral, Adelaide. The service was attended by a host of former and current Test cricketers, as well as Australia’s then prime minister, John Howard, leader of the opposition Kim Beazley and former prime minister Bob Hawke. Eulogies were given by Richie Benaud and Governor-General Sir William Deane. The service was broadcast live on ABC Television to a viewing audience of 1.45 million. A private service for family and friends was earlier held at the Centennial Park Cemetery in the suburb of Pasadena, with many people lining both Greenhill and Goodwood Roads to pay their respects as his funeral motorcade passed by.

Legacy

Cricket writer David Frith summed up the paradox of the continuing fascination with Bradman:

As the years passed, with no lessening of his reclusiveness, so his public stature continued to grow, until the sense of reverence and unquestioning worship left many of his contemporaries scratching their heads in wondering admiration.

As early as 1939, Bradman had a Royal Navy ship named after him. Built as a fishing trawler in 1936, HMS Bradman was taken over by the Admiralty in 1939 but was sunk by German aircraft the following year.

In the 1963 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, Bradman was selected by Neville Cardus as one the Six Giants of the Wisden Century. This was a special commemorative selection requested by Wisden for its 100th edition. The other five players chosen were: Sydney BarnesW. G. GraceJack HobbsTom Richardson and Victor Trumper.

On 10 December 1985, Bradman was the first of 120 inaugural inductees into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. He spoke of his philosophy for considering the stature of athletes:

When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his or her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness.

Although modest about his own abilities and generous in his praise of other cricketers, Bradman was fully aware of the talents he possessed as a player; there is some evidence that he sought to influence his legacy. During the 1980s and 1990s, Bradman carefully selected the people to whom he gave interviews, assisting Michael Page, Roland Perry and Charles Williams, who all produced biographical works about him. Bradman also agreed to an extensive interview for ABC radio, broadcast as Bradman: The Don Declares in eight 55-minute episodes during 1988.

The Bradman Stand (named in 1990) at the Adelaide Oval

The most significant of these legacy projects was the Bradman Museum, opened in 1989 at the Bradman Oval in Bowral. This organisation was reformed in 1993 as a non-profit charitable Trust, called the Bradman Foundation. In 2010, it was expanded and rebranded as the International Cricket Hall of Fame.

When the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame[GR35]  was created in Melbourne in 1996, Bradman was made one of its 10 inaugural members. In 2000, Bradman was selected by cricket experts as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Century. Each of the 100 members of the panel were able to select five cricketers: all 100 voted for Bradman. The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame inducted him on 19 November 2009.

Bradman’s life and achievements were recognised in Australia with two notable issues. Three years before he died, he became the first living Australian to be featured on an Australian postage stamp. After his death, the Australian Government produced a 20-cent coin to commemorate his life. On 27 August 2018, to celebrate 110 years since his birth, Bradman was commemorated with a Google Doodle. To mark 150 years of the Cricketers’ Almanack, Wisden named him as captain of an all-time Test World XI.

In 1999, Bradman was named in the six man shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Century. Asteroid 2472 Bradman discovered by Luboš Kohoutek is named in his honour.

Family life

Bradman with wife (left) in 1938 near Maidenhead, England

Bradman first met Jessie Martha Menzies in 1920 when she boarded with the Bradman family, to be closer to school in Bowral. The couple married at St Paul’s Anglican Church at Burwood, Sydney on 30 April 1932. The two had an impeccable marriage and were devoted to each other. During their 65-year marriage, Jessie was “shrewd, reliable, selfless, and above all, uncomplicated…she was the perfect foil to his concentrated, and occasionally mercurial character”. Bradman paid tribute to his wife numerous times, once saying succinctly, “I would never have achieved what I achieved without Jessie”.

The Bradmans lived in the same modest, suburban house in Holden Street, Kensington Park in Adelaide for all but the first three years of their married life. They experienced personal tragedy in raising their children: their first-born son died as an infant in 1936, their second son, John (born in 1939) contracted polio, and their daughter, Shirley, born in 1941, had cerebral palsy from birth. His family name proved a burden for John Bradman; he legally changed his last name to Bradsen in 1972. Although claims were made that he became estranged from his father, it was more a matter of “the pair inhabit[ing] different worlds”, and the two remained in contact through the years. After the cricketer’s death, a collection of personal letters written by Bradman to his close friend Rohan Rivett [GR36] between 1953 and 1977 was released and gave researchers new insights into Bradman’s family life, including the strain between father and son.

Bradman’s reclusiveness in later life is partly attributable to the ongoing health problems of his wife, particularly following the open-heart surgery Jessie underwent in her 60s. Lady Bradman died in 1997, aged 88, from cancer. This had a dispiriting effect on Bradman, but the relationship with his son improved, to the extent that John resolved to change his name back to Bradman. Since his father’s death, John Bradman has become the spokesperson for the family and has been involved in defending the Bradman legacy in a number of disputes. The relationship between Bradman and his wider family is less clear, although nine months after Bradman’s death, his nephew Paul Bradman criticised him as a “snob” and a “loner” who forgot his connections in Bowral and who failed to attend the funerals of Paul’s mother and father.

The operatic soprano Greta Bradman is his grand-daughter.

In popular culture

Bradman statue outside the Adelaide Oval

Bradman’s name has become an archetypal name for outstanding excellence, both within cricket and in the wider world. The term Bradmanesque has been coined and is used both within and outside cricketing circles. Steve Waugh described Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan as “the Don Bradman of bowling”.

Bradman has been the subject of more biographies than any other Australian, apart from the bushranger Ned Kelly. Bradman himself wrote four books: Don Bradman’s Book–The Story of My Cricketing Life with Hints on Batting, Bowling and Fielding (1930), My Cricketing Life (1938), Farewell to Cricket (1950) and The Art of Cricket (1958). The story of the Bodyline series was retold in a 1984 television mini-series, with Gary Sweet portraying Bradman.


 [GR1]Australian folklore refers to the folklore and urban legends that have evolved in Australia from Aboriginal Australian myths to colonial and contemporary folklore including people, places and events, that have played part in shaping the culture, image and traditions that are seen in contemporary Old Australia.

 [GR2]Australia suffered badly during the period of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Depression began with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and rapidly spread worldwide. As in other nations, Australia suffered years of high unemployment, poverty, low profits, deflation, plunging incomes, and lost opportunities for economic growth and personal advancement.

The Australian economy and foreign policy largely rested upon its place as a primary producer within the British Empire, and Australia’s important export industries, particularly primary products such as wool and wheat, suffered significantly from the collapse in international demand. Unemployment reached a record high of around 30% in 1932, and gross domestic product declined by 10% between 1929 and 1931.

There were also incidents of civil unrest, particularly in Australia’s largest city, Sydney. Though Australian Communist and far right movements were active in the Depression, they remained largely on the periphery of Australian politics, failing to achieve the power shifts obtained in Europe, and the democratic political system of the young Australian Federation survived the strain of the period.

 [GR3]The Australian cricket team in England in 1948 was captained by Don Bradman, who was making his fourth and final tour of England. The team is famous for being the only Test match side to play an entire tour of England without losing a match. This feat earned them the nickname of “The Invincibles”, and they are regarded as one of the greatest cricket teams of all time. According to the Australian federal government the team “is one of Australia’s most cherished sporting legends”.

Including five Test matches, Australia played a total of 34 matches, of which 31 were first-class, between 28 April and 18 September. Two of the non-first-class matches were played in Scotland. They had a busy schedule, with 112 days of play scheduled in 144 days, meaning that they often played every day of the week except Sunday. Their record in the first-class games was 23 won and 8 drawn; in all matches, they won 25 and drew 9; many of the victories were by large margins. They won the Test series 4–0 with one draw.

The strength of the Australian team was based around its formidable batting line-up, which included Bradman, Arthur Morris, vice-captain Lindsay HassettNeil Harvey and Sid Barnes, and the hostile fast bowling of Ray LindwallKeith Miller and Bill Johnston.

Due to the popularity of Bradman, generally regarded as the greatest batsman of all time, and the fact that he had announced that it was his farewell international tour, the Australians were greeted with much fanfare across the country, and many records for match attendances were broken. The record for Test attendance at a match in England was broken three times, in the SecondThird and Fourth Tests, and stands to this day.

 [GR4]The stumps are three vertical posts which support two bails. The stumps and bails are usually made of wood, most commonly ash, and together form a wicket at each end of the pitch.

The overall width of each wicket is 9 inches (22.9 cm). Each stump is 28 inches (71.1 cm) tall with maximum and minimum diameters of 1​12 inches (3.81 cm) and 1​38 inches (3.49 cm). They have a spike at one end for inserting into the ground, and the other end has a U-shaped ‘through groove’ to provide a resting place for the bails. In junior cricket the items have lesser dimensions.

Each stump is referred to by a specific name

 [GR5]In the game of cricket, the cricket pitch consists of the central strip of the cricket field between the wickets. It is 22 yd (20.12 m) long (1 chain) and 10 ft (3.05 m) wide. The surface is flat and is normally covered with extremely short grass, but can be completely dry or dusty soil with barely any grass or, in some circumstances (that are rarely seen in high level cricket), made from an artificial material. Over the course of a cricket match, the pitch is not repaired or altered other than in special circumstances – meaning that it will change condition. Any grass on the pitch in the game’s first over, for example, may have disappeared by the twentieth over due to wear.

 [GR6]Sydney Grade Cricket is a cricket competition played in Sydney, Australia. As of the 2016/17 season, Sydney Grade Cricket is now referred to as NSW Premier Cricket. The name change was part of a Cricket Australia initiative to standardise the naming of the elite men’s cricket competition within each state’s capital city. The competition began in 1893 when a number of clubs that had been playing for many years on an ad hoc basis voted to create a formal competition structure.[1]

The NSW Premier Cricket competition is generally played on Saturdays and begins in mid-September and continues until the grand final is played on the first weekend of April. Spectators are generally few and far between at matches, mostly family members, partners or club members. The exception to this is at T20 matches which can attract crowds into the hundreds and occasionally the low thousands. Players for the NSW team are selected from the first-grade competition. While modern day cricketers have few breaks outside the international calendar, when they do NSW players often return to play in the first-grade competition.

 [GR7]The England cricket team toured Australia in 1928–29. England, known as the MCC in matches outside the Tests, retained The Ashes, winning the first four Tests and losing the last for a 4–1 series victory.

Writing in the 1930 Wisden, SJ Southerton wrote:

England were stronger in batting, more reliable and consistent in bowling and very definitely superior in fielding.

The series was defined by the prodigious runscoring of Wally Hammond, playing his maiden Ashes series, who with a run of scores of 251 at Sydney, 200 and 32 at Melbourne, and 119 not out and 177 at Adelaide, scored a then-record series aggregate of 905 runs at an average of 113.12; the record has only been surpassed once, by Donald Bradman in the 1930 Ashes.

 [GR8]Clement Clem Hill (18 March 1877 – 5 September 1945) was an Australian cricketer who played 49 Test matches as a specialist batsman between 1896 and 1912. He captained the Australian team in ten Tests, winning five and losing five. A prolific run scorer, Hill scored 3,412 runs in Test cricket—a world record at the time of his retirement—at an average of 39.21 per innings, including seven centuries. In 1902, Hill was the first batsman to make 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year, a feat that would not be repeated for 45 years. His innings of 365 scored against New South Wales for South Australia in 1900–01 was a Sheffield Shield record for 27 years. The South Australian Cricket Association named a grandstand at the Adelaide Oval in his honour in 2003 and he was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2005.

 [GR9]Charles George Macartney (27 June 1886 – 9 September 1958) was an Australian cricketer who played in 35 Test matches between 1907 and 1926. He was known as “The Governor-General” in reference to his authoritative batting style and his flamboyant strokeplay, which drew comparisons with his close friend and role model Victor Trumper, regarded as one of the most elegant batsmen in cricketing history. Sir Donald Bradman—generally regarded as the greatest batsman in history—cited Macartney’s dynamic batting as an inspiration in his cricket career.

He started his career as a bowling all-rounder. He made his Test debut in 1907, primarily as a left arm orthodox spinner who was considered to be a useful lower-middle order right-hand batsman. As Macartney was initially selected for his flexibility, his position in the batting order was frequently shuffled and he was largely ineffective. His most noteworthy Test contribution in his early career was a match-winning ten wicket haul at Headingley in 1909, before being dropped in the 1910–11 Australian season. It was around this time that Macartney befriended Trumper and began to transform himself from a bowler who batted in a defensive and technically correct manner, into an audacious attacking batsman. He reclaimed his Test position and made his maiden Test century in the same season, before establishing himself as the leading batsman in the team.

 [GR10]Victor York Richardson OBE (7 September 1894 – 30 October 1969) was a leading Australian sportsman of the 1920s and 1930s, captaining the Australia cricket team and the South Australia Australian rules football team, representing Australia in baseball and South Australia in golf, winning the South Australian state tennis title and also being a leading local player in lacrosse, basketball and swimming.

Richardson won the South Australian National Football League‘s highest individual honour, the Magarey Medal, while captain-coach of Sturt in 1920.

 [GR11]A boundary is the scoring of four or six runs from a single delivery, with the ball reaching or crossing the boundary of the playing field, and touching either the boundary or the ground, while either having touched the ground within the playing field first (in the case of four runs) or not (six runs); these events are known as a four or a six respectively.

Occasionally there is an erroneous use of the term boundary as a synonym for a “four”. For example, sometimes commentators say such as “There were seven boundaries and three sixes in the innings.” The correct terminology would be “There were ten boundaries in the innings of which seven were fours and three were sixes.”

When this happens the runs are automatically added to the batsman’s and his team’s score and the ball becomes dead. If the ball did not touch the bat or a hand holding the bat, four runs are scored as the relevant type of extra instead; six runs cannot be scored as extras, even if the ball clears the boundary, which is in any case extremely unlikely.

Any runs the batsmen completed by running before the ball reached the edge of the field do not count, unless they are greater than the number of runs that would be scored by the boundary, in which case it is the runs from the boundary that are discounted.

A batsman scoring a six during a game at Chrishall, Essex

The scoring of a four or six by a good aggressive shot displays a certain amount of mastery by the batsman over the bowler, and is usually greeted by applause from the spectators. Fours resulting from an edged stroke, or from a shot that did not come off as the batsman intended, are considered bad luck to the bowler. As a batsman plays himself in and becomes more confident as his innings progresses, the proportion of his runs scored in boundaries often rises.

An average first-class match usually sees between 50 and 150 boundary fours. Sixes are less common, and usually fewer than 10 (and sometimes none) will be scored in the course of a match.

The Laws allow for captains to change the boundary allowances (number of runs scored through either type of boundary) through a pre-match agreement.

 [GR12]Cricket Australia (CA), formerly known as the Australian Cricket Board (ACB), is the governing body for professional and amateur cricket in Australia. It was originally formed in 1905 as the ‘Australian Board of Control for International Cricket’. It is incorporated as an Australian Public Company, limited by guarantee.

Cricket Australia operates all of the Australian national representative cricket sides, including the Men’s, the Women’s and Youth sides. CA is also responsible for organising and hosting Test tours and one day internationals with other nations, and scheduling the home international fixtures.

 [GR13]Ironmonger was born in Pine Mountain, near IpswichQueensland, the youngest of ten children of a farmer. As a child, he lost the forefinger of his left hand (his bowling hand) in an industrial accident. He lived and worked on the family farm at Pine Mountain until he was 25. He played for the Albert club in Ipswich for 15 years, taking well over 1000 wickets at an average of less than six runs each.

He only made his first-class debut for Queensland at the age of 27. After a few matches for Queensland he moved to Victoria in 1914, accepting a position offered by Hugh Trumble as professional bowler at the Melbourne Cricket Club. Thinking his age might tell against him – he was 31 – he gave his birth date as 1886, making him supposedly 27. The new date became his accepted birth date for the rest of his cricket career. In his second match for Melbourne he took 9 for 30 against St Kilda, and was immediately selected to play for Victoria. In the 1914-15 season he was the outstanding bowler in the Sheffield Shield, taking 32 wickets in Victoria’s four matches at an average of 17.12, and Victoria won the competition. He was also the leading wicket-taker that season in the Melbourne competition, which his Melbourne club won in its first year in the competition.

 [GR14]The leg side, or on side, is defined to be a particular half of the field used to play the sport of cricket. It is the side of the field that corresponds to the batsman’s non-dominant hand, from their perspective.

From the point of view of a right-handed batsman facing the bowler, it is the left hand side of the cricket field (being to the bowler’s right). With a left-handed batsman the on side is to the batsman’s right (and to the bowler’s left).

A cricket field is notionally divided into two halves, by an imaginary line running down the long axis of the pitch. In normal batting stance, the striking batsman stands side on to the bowler. The leg side is the half of the field behind the batsman. The half of the field in front of him is called the off side.

In the picture, the bowler is bowling from the bottom half of the image, the right-handed batsman (S), facing him sideways on, has his legs more on the right side of the picture, the leg-side. If the ball goes down that side of the pitch it will be “on” the batsman’s legs, the on side.

Fielding positions

The definition is relative to the batsman. If the batsman were to directly face the bowler, the leg side would be:

  • on the left side for a right-handed batsman, but
  • on the right side for a left-handed batsman.

The leg side is usually less well defended with fielders than the off side, because of the typical line of attack of the bowlers, which is frequently on or outside off stump. This makes it more difficult to hit the ball to the leg side because it involves swinging the bat across the line of the ball, which can lead to mishits and catches.

While the terms “leg side” and “on side” can refer to an entire half of the field, each term is often used to denote only part of this half. When the batsman plays the ball into this half in front of the wicket, it is usually said that the ball has been played to the on side. However, when the ball is played into the region level with or behind the wicket, it is said that the ball has been played to the leg side. The names of fielding positions often include the words “leg” or “on”, and they reflect this convention. For example, fine leg is located behind the wicket, whereas mid on is located in front of it. When the batsman steps backwards from his normal batting stance on the crease as the ball is bowled, he is said to be moving towards the leg side.

 [GR15]Australia won the 1934 Ashes series against England, winning two of the matches and losing one, with the other two tests drawn. The Australian tourists were captained by Bill Woodfull, while the home side were led by Bob Wyatt, with Cyril Walters deputising for Wyatt in the first Test.

In the second Test of the series at Lord’s, known as Verity’s Match, left-arm spinner Hedley Verity took 15 wickets in the match to hand England their only victory in a Lord’s Ashes Test in the twentieth century. The last two Tests of the series were notable for the prodigious runscoring of Bill Ponsford and Donald Bradman, who shared partnerships of at 388 at Headingley (scoring 181 and 304 respectively) and 451 at the Oval (scoring 266 and 244 respectively) in Ponsford’s final Test.

 [GR16]The law of averages is the commonly held belief that a particular outcome or event will, over certain periods of time, occur at a frequency that is similar to its probability. Depending on context or application it can be considered a valid common-sense observation or a misunderstanding of probability. This notion can lead to the gambler’s fallacy when one becomes convinced that a particular outcome must come soon simply because it has not occurred recently (e.g. believing that because three consecutive coin flips yielded heads, the next coin flip must be virtually guaranteed to be tails).

As invoked in everyday life, the “law” usually reflects wishful thinking or a poor understanding of statistics rather than any mathematical principle. While there is a real theorem that a random variable will reflect its underlying probability over a very large sample, the law of averages typically assumes that unnatural short-term “balance” must occur. Typical applications also generally assume no bias in the underlying probability distribution, which is frequently at odds with the empirical evidence

 [GR17]Peritonitis is inflammation of the peritoneum, the lining of the inner wall of the abdomen and cover of the abdominal organs. Symptoms may include severe pain, swelling of the abdomen, fever, or weight loss. One part or the entire abdomen may be tender. Complications may include shock and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Causes include perforation of the intestinal tractpancreatitispelvic inflammatory diseasestomach ulcercirrhosis, or a ruptured appendix. Risk factors include ascites and peritoneal dialysis. Diagnosis is generally based on examinationblood tests, and medical imaging.

Treatment often includes antibioticsintravenous fluidspain medication, and surgery. Other measures may include a nasogastric tube or blood transfusion. Without treatment death may occur within a few days. Approximately 7.5% of people have appendicitis at some point in time. About 20% of people with cirrhosis who are hospitalized have peritonitis

 [GR18]The Sheffield Shield is the domestic first-class cricket competition of Australia. The tournament is contested between teams from six states of Australia. Prior to the Shield being established, a number of intercolonial matches were played. The Shield, donated by Lord Sheffield, was first contested during the 1892–93 season, between New South WalesSouth Australia and VictoriaQueensland was admitted for the 1926–27 season, Western Australia for the 1947–48 season and Tasmania for the 1977–78 season.

The competition is contested in a double-round robin format, with each team playing every other team twice, i.e. home and away. Points are awarded based on wins, losses, draws and ties, with the top two teams playing a final at the end of the season. Regular matches last for four days; the final lasts for five days.

 [GR19]Spin bowling is a bowling technique in cricket, in which the ball is delivered slowly but with the potential to deviate sharply after bouncing, and the bowler is referred to as a spinn

Depending on technique, a spin bowler uses either predominant wrist or finger motion to impart spin to the ball around a horizontal axis that is at an oblique angle to the length of the pitch. This sort of spin means it is also possible for the Magnus effect to cause the ball to deviate sideways through the air, before it bounces. Such deviation is called drift. The combination of drift and spin can make the ball’s trajectory complex, with a change of direction at the bounce.

Spin bowlers are generally given the task of bowling with an old, worn cricket ball. A new cricket ball better suits the techniques of fast bowling than spin bowling, while a worn one grips the pitch better and achieves greater spin. Spin bowlers are also more effective later in a game, as the pitch dries up and begins to crack and crumble. This again provides more purchase for the spinning ball and produces greater deviation. Spin bowlers that open the bowling are rare, but became a more viable option with the introduction of Twenty20 cricket when pitch conditions are in their favour, and the ball also generally drifts more in the air. Spin bowlers can also be used tactically in shorter forms of the game, to ‘take the pace off the ball’. This strategy is especially effective to slow down the scoring rates of batsmen who specialise in making use of the pace of faster bowlers to score runs quickly. The lower inherent momentum of a spin bowler necessitates more power exerted by the batsman to achieve the same results.

 [GR20]The phrase comes from the game of cricket. “Wicket” has several meanings in cricket: in this case it refers to the rectangular area, also known as the pitch, in the centre of the cricket field between the stumps. The wicket is usually covered in a much shorter grass than the rest of the field or entirely bare, making it susceptible to variations in weather, which in turn cause the ball to bounce differently.

If rain falls and the wicket becomes wet, the ball may not bounce predictably, making it very difficult for the batsman. Furthermore, as the pitch dries, conditions can change swiftly, with spin bowling being especially devastating, as the ball can deviate laterally from straight by several feet. Once the wet surface begins to dry in a hot sun “the ball will rise sharply, steeply and erratically. A good length ball … becomes a potential lethal delivery. Most batsmen on such wickets found it virtually impossible to survive let alone score.” Certain cricketers developed reputations for their outstanding abilities to perform on sticky wickets. Australian Victor Trumper was one.

On occasions in the history of cricket unusual tactics have been employed to extract the best use of a sticky wicket. One example is the First Test in the 1950–51 Ashes series. As recorded in The Ashes’ Strangest Moments, as the pitch at the Gabba began to dry, England declared their first innings at just 68/7, in order to exploit the conditions. Australia were even more extreme, declaring at 32/7. “…the ball proceeded to perform capers all against the laws of gravitation, and there came the craziest day’s cricket imaginable, with twenty wickets falling for 130 runs and two declarations that must surely be unique in the annals of Test cricket.”

The Language of Cricket (1934) defines a sticky wicket as “when its surface is in a glutinous condition”. Hence a “sticky wicket” refers to a difficult situation

 [GR21]Old Trafford is a cricket ground in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England. It opened in 1857 as the home of Manchester Cricket Club and has been the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club since 1864. From 2013 onwards it has been known as Emirates Old Trafford due to a sponsorship deal with the Emirates airline.

Old Trafford is England’s second oldest Test venue after The Oval and hosted the first Ashes Test in England in July 1884. The venue has hosted the Cricket World Cup five times (1975197919831999 and 2019). Old Trafford holds the record for both most World Cup matches hosted (17) and most semi-finals hosted (5). In 1956, the first 10-wicket haul in a single innings was achieved by England bowler Jim Laker who achieved bowling figures of 19 wickets for 90 runs—a bowling record which is unmatched in Test and first-class cricket. In 1990, a 17 year old Sachin Tendulkar scored 119 not out against England, which was the first of his 100 international centuries. In the 1993 Ashes Test at Old Trafford, leg-spinner Shane Warne bowled Mike Gatting with the “Ball of the Century“. In 2020 the ground was used as one of two biosecure venues, alongside the Ageas Bowl, for the tours involving West Indies and Pakistan which were regulated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite its rich cricket history, the venue was perceived as dilapidated and lost test status in 2009. Extensive redevelopment of the ground to increase capacity and modernise facilities commenced soon after in an effort to safeguard international cricket at the venue. The development entailed the restoration of the pavilion and creation of The Point, a £12 million stand overlooking the pitch. The pitch at Old Trafford has historically been the quickest in England, but will take spin later in the game

 [GR22]In cricket, an over consists of six consecutive legal deliveries bowled from one end of a cricket pitch to the player batting at the other end, almost always by a single bowler.

maiden over is an over in which no runs are scored that count against the bowler (so leg byes and byes may be scored as they are not counted against the bowler). A wicket maiden is a maiden over in which a wicket is also taken. Similarly, double and triple wicket maidens are when two and three wickets are taken in a maiden over. 

After six deliveries the umpire calls ‘over’; the fielding team switches ends, and a different bowler is selected to bowl from the opposite end. The captain of the fielding team decides which bowler will bowl any given over, and no bowler may bowl two overs in succession.

 [GR23]Charles Burgess Fry (25 April 1872 – 7 September 1956) was an English sportsman, politician, diplomat, academic, teacher, writer, editor and publisher, who is best remembered for his career as a cricketerJohn Arlott described him with the words: “Charles Fry could be autocratic, angry and self-willed: he was also magnanimous, extravagant, generous, elegant, brilliant – and fun … he was probably the most variously gifted Englishman of any age.”

Fry’s achievements on the sporting field included representing England at both cricket and football, an FA Cup Final appearance for Southampton F.C. and equalling the then-world record for the long jump. He also reputedly turned down the throne of Albania. In later life, he suffered mental health problems, but even well into his seventies he claimed he was still able to perform his party trick: leaping from a stationary position backwards onto a mantelpiece

 [GR24]Brigadier General Alexander Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of GowrieVCGCMGCBDSO & BarPC (/ˈhɔːr ˈrɪvɛn/; 6 July 1872 – 2 May 1955) was a British Army officer who served as the 10th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1936 to 1945. He was previously Governor of South Australia (1928–1934) and Governor of New South Wales (1935–1936).

Gowrie was born in Windsor, Berkshire, England, into a minor aristocratic family. He joined a voluntary Yeomanry unit at the age of 17, and then enlisted in the regular army at the age of 19. Gowrie fought in the Sudan during the Mahdist Revolt, and was awarded the Victoria Cross for saving a wounded Egyptian soldier. He later served in the Somaliland campaign and as an aide-de-camp to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. During the First World War, Gowrie commanded units in the Gallipoli campaign and on the Western Front, winning several further honours. He finished his military career with the rank of brigadier-general.

In 1928, Gowrie was appointed Governor of South Australia. His handling of political instability during the Great Depression was highly regarded, and when his term expired he was appointed Governor of New South Wales. However, Gowrie’s second governorship lasted little more than a year, as Joseph Lyons recommended him to become Governor-General. As well as the stresses of the Second World War, he faced several constitutional challenges, including Lyons’ death in office and the defeat of Arthur Fadden‘s government on a confidence motion. Gowrie’s term in office was prolonged as a result of war, and in total he spent nine years in the position, the longest of any governor-general.

 [GR25]Fibromyalgia (FM) is a medical condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. Other symptoms include tiredness to a degree that normal activities are affected, sleep problems and troubles with memory. Some people also report restless legs syndromebowel or bladder problemsnumbness and tingling and sensitivity to noise, lights or temperature. Fibromyalgia is frequently associated with depressionanxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder. Other types of chronic pain are also frequently present.

 [GR26]The Australian Services XI was a cricket team comprising solely military service personnel during World War II. They became active in May 1945 after the defeat of Nazi Germany. The team played matches against English cricket sides of both military and civilian origins to celebrate the end of the war. These matches were aimed at increasing morale in the war-ravaged English cities and as a means of reviving cricket after the conclusion of fighting.

The end of the war marked the start of the 1945 cricket season. Plum Warner organised a series of matches between England and Australian servicemen, known as the Victory Tests, to celebrate the end of hostilities. However, Australian cricket administrators would not accredit the three-day matches as official Test matches, arguing that there were not enough Test-level players in the armed services; Lindsay Hassett was the only Australian who had Test experience.

The side was composed of an amalgam of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) team, which had already been stationed in England during the war, and another group of mostly Australian Imperial Force (AIF) soldiers from Australia. The players were deliberately stationed with each other in England for the express purpose of forming a cricket team to tour the country, with Australian prime minister John Curtin pushing for the immediate resumption of international cricket after the war was over. The team was officially a military unit, led by Squadron Leader Stan Sismey, the team’s wicket-keeper.

England were close to full strength, so the AIF and the RAAF teams merged to strengthen their quality. As a result, the Australian Services cricket team was formed under the leadership of Warrant Officer Lindsay Hassett to compete in the Victory Tests

 [GR27]A ball played off the bat immediately into the ground and then caught by a fielder. Often this has the appearance of being a clean catch directly off the bat.

 [GR28]The main aim of spin bowling is to bowl the cricket ball with rapid rotation so that when it bounces on the pitch it will deviate from its normal straight path, thus making it difficult for the batsman to hit the ball cleanly. The speed the ball travels is not critical, and is significantly slower than that for fast bowling. A typical spin delivery has a speed in the range 70–90 km/h (45–55 mph).

 [GR29]The term is a shortening of the term “duck’s egg”, the latter being used long before Test cricket began. When referring to the Prince of Wales’ (the future Edward VII) score of nought on 17 July 1866, a contemporary newspaper wrote that the Prince “retired to the royal pavilion on a ‘duck’s egg’ “. The name is believed to come from the shape of the number “0” being similar to that of a duck‘s egg, as in the case of the American slang term “goose-egg” popular in baseball and the tennis term “love”, derived – according to one theory – from French l’œuf (“the egg”). The Concise Oxford Dictionary still cites “duck’s egg” as an alternative version of the term

 [GR30]The Australian cricket team in England in 1948 was captained by Don Bradman, who was making his fourth and final tour of England. The team is famous for being the only Test match side to play an entire tour of England without losing a match. This feat earned them the nickname of “The Invincibles”, and they are regarded as one of the greatest cricket teams of all time. According to the Australian federal government the team “is one of Australia’s most cherished sporting legends”.

Including five Test matches, Australia played a total of 34 matches, of which 31 were first-class, between 28 April and 18 September. Two of the non-first-class matches were played in Scotland. They had a busy schedule, with 112 days of play scheduled in 144 days, meaning that they often played every day of the week except Sunday. Their record in the first-class games was 23 won and 8 drawn; in all matches, they won 25 and drew 9; many of the victories were by large margins. They won the Test series 4–0 with one draw.

The strength of the Australian team was based around its formidable batting line-up, which included Bradman, Arthur Morris, vice-captain Lindsay HassettNeil Harvey and Sid Barnes, and the hostile fast bowling of Ray LindwallKeith Miller and Bill Johnston.

Due to the popularity of Bradman, generally regarded as the greatest batsman of all time, and the fact that he had announced that it was his farewell international tour, the Australians were greeted with much fanfare across the country, and many records for match attendances were broken. The record for Test attendance at a match in England was broken three times, in the SecondThird and Fourth Tests, and stands to this day.

 [GR31]The International Cricket Council Player Rankings is a widely followed system of rankings for international cricketers based on their recent performances. The current sponsor is MRF Tyres who signed a 4-year deal with the ICC that will last until 2020.

The ratings were developed at the suggestion of Ted Dexter in 1987. The intention was to produce a better indication of players’ current standing in the sport than is provided by comparing their averages. Career averages are based on a player’s entire career and do not make any allowance for match conditions or the strength of the opposition, whereas the ratings are weighted towards recent form and account for match conditions and the quality of the opponent using statistical algorithms.

Initially the rankings were for Test cricket only, but separate One Day International rankings were introduced in 1998. Both sets of rankings have now been calculated back to the start of those forms of the game. The rankings include the top 10 Test, ODI and T20I batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders based on the rating of each player.

 [GR32]Shane Keith Warne (born 13 September 1969) is an Australian cricket commentator and former international cricketer who captained the Australian national team in One Day Internationals (ODI). Widely considered as one of the greatest bowlers in cricket history,[1] Warne was named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in the 1994 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.[2] He was the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World in 1997 (Notional Winner). He was banned from the sport in 2003 for testing positive for a prohibited substance. Following the ban, he was named Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World for the year 2004 in the 2005 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. In 2000, he was selected by a panel of cricket experts as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, the only specialist bowler selected in the quintet and the only one still playing at the time. He officially retired from all formats of cricket in July 2013.

As well as playing internationally, Warne played domestic cricket for his home state of Victoria and English domestic cricket for Hampshire. He was captain of Hampshire for three seasons from 2005 to 2007. Warne played his first Test match in 1992 and took over 1,000 international wickets (in Tests and One-Day Internationals), second to this milestone after Sri Lanka‘s Muttiah Muralitharan. Warne’s 708 Test wickets was the record for the most wickets taken by any bowler in Test cricket, until it was broken by Muralitharan on 3 December 2007. A useful lower-order batsman, Warne is also the only player to have scored more than 3,000 Test runs without a career century. His career was plagued by scandals off the field, including a ban from cricket for testing positive for a prohibited substance, charges of bringing the game into disrepute by accepting money from bookmakers and sexual indiscretions.

He retired from international cricket in January 2007, at the end of Australia’s 5–0 Ashes series victory over England. Three other players integral to the Australian team at the time- Glenn McGrathDamien Martyn and Justin Langer also retired from Tests at the same time which led some, including the Australian captain Ricky Ponting; to declare it the “end of an era”.[8]

He was named as a bowler in Australia‘s “greatest ever ODI team”. In a fan poll conducted by the CA in 2017, he was named in the country’s best Ashes XI in the last 40 years. To mark 150 years of the Cricketers’ Almanack, Wisden named him in an all-time Test World XI.

Following his retirement from international cricket, Warne played a full season at Hampshire in 2007. He had been scheduled to appear in the 2008 English cricket season, but in late March 2008 he announced his retirement from playing first-class cricket in order to be able to “spend more time pursuing interests outside of cricket”. He played in the first four seasons (2008-2011) of the Indian Premier League for the Rajasthan Royals, where he played the roles of both captain and coach. He led his team to victory against the Chennai Super Kings in the final of the 2008 season. In February 2018, the Rajasthan Royals appointed Warne as their Team Mentor for the IPL 2018.

In 2013, Warne was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. In 2012, he was also inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame by the CA

 [GR33]Richard Benaud OBE (/ˈbɛnoʊ/; 6 October 1930 – 10 April 2015) was an Australian cricketer who, after his retirement from international cricket in 1964, became a highly regarded commentator on the game.

Benaud was a Test cricket all-rounder, blending leg spin bowling with lower-order batting aggression. Along with fellow bowling all-rounder Alan Davidson, he helped restore Australia to the top of world cricket in the late 1950s and early 1960s after a slump in the early 1950s. In 1958 he became Australia’s Test captain until his retirement in 1964. He became the first player to reach 200 wickets and 2,000 runs in Test cricket, arriving at that milestone in 1963.

Gideon Haigh described him as “perhaps the most influential cricketer and cricket personality since the Second World War.” In his review of Benaud’s autobiography Anything But, Sri Lankan cricket writer Harold de Andrado wrote: “Richie Benaud possibly next to Sir Don Bradman has been one of the greatest cricketing personalities as player, researcher, writer, critic, author, organiser, adviser and student of the game

 [GR34]Ian Michael Chappell (born 26 September 1943) is a former cricketer who played for South Australia and Australia. He captained Australia between 1971 and 1975 before taking a central role in the breakaway World Series Cricket organisation. Born into a cricketing family—his grandfather and brother also captained Australia—Chappell made a hesitant start to international cricket playing as a right-hand middle-order batsman and spin bowler. He found his niche when promoted to bat at number three. Known as “Chappelli“, he earned a reputation as one of the greatest captains the game has seen.[1][2][3][4] Chappell’s blunt verbal manner led to a series of confrontations with opposition players and cricket administrators; the issue of sledging first arose during his tenure as captain, and he was a driving force behind the professionalisation of Australian cricket in the 1970s

 [GR35]The Australian Cricket Hall of Fame is a part of the Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum in the Australian Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This hall of fame commemorates the greatest Australian cricketers of all time, as the “selection philosophy for the hall of fame focuses on the players’ status as sporting legends in addition to their outstanding statistical records.”[1] Inductees must be retired from international cricket for at least five years. The Australian Cricket Hall of Fame was an idea conceived by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) to honour Australia’s legendary cricketers. It was opened on 6 December 1996 by the then Prime MinisterJohn Howard.

The hall of fame opened with ten inaugural members, ranging from Fred Spofforth, a pace bowler who retired from Test cricket in 1887, to Dennis Lillee who played his last Test match in 1984. As of December 2020, the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame comprises 55 members.[1] All twelve members of the Australian Cricket Board Team of the Century are included, six of them amongst the inaugural members. The vast majority are men; Belinda Clark was the first woman admitted to the hall when she was inducted in 2014 (three years after she was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame). Three female Test captains have been admitted, along with 21 of their male counterparts. In December 2020, Johnny Mullagh became the first Indigenous Australian to be inducted into the hall of fame. Regarded as a standout player of the Aboriginal team which toured England in 1868, Mullagh is also the only member to have not played Test cricket for Australia

 [GR36]Rohan was born in Melbourne, Victoria the elder son of Sir David Rivett and his wife Stella née Deakin. He was a grandson of the former Prime Minister of Australia Alfred Deakin and of the Rev. Albert Rivett (1855–1934), a noted pacifist.

He was educated at Wesley College and in 1935 went on to study history and politics at the University of Melbourne, earning a B.A. with first class honours in 1938. With classmate Manning Clark, he enrolled to study at Balliol College, Oxford, arriving in October 1938. When World War II began, he and Clark abandoned their studies and returned to Australia with the intention of joining the AIF

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Copied, compiled & edited by George W Rehder Keith UrbanAO Urban performing in 2020 Background information Birth name Keith Lionel Urban Born 26 October 1967 (age 53)Whangarei, New Zealand Origin Caboolture, Queensland, Australia Genres Country country pop country rock pop rock Occupation(s) Singer songwriter musician record producer Instruments Vocals guitar bass guitar […]

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