Cricket rules over the hearts of millions of people world wide, and has given birth to so many legends. Legends who have shown an unmatched level of skill and graced the game with their performances. Among these legends, we always take the names of players like Sachin Tendulkar who is also known as the God of our Sport, Virat Kohli, Viv Richards, Shane Warne and many more. But if there’s one player who has excelled at the sport more than any one can ever imagine is the man, Sir Donald Bradman himself. Affectionately known as the Don of Cricket, he is considered the greatest batsman ever to play the sport and has an everlasting impact! It’s been almost a century since he played, but we still remember him on the cover of the game Don Bradman: Cricket 14 and 17.
Let’s delve into the life, achievement and the Legacy of the revolutionary player…….
Donald was born on August 27, 1908 in New South Wales in the cricket crazy country Australia and developed an affection for the game from a very young age. You can even search for his video when he was just a kid, where he can be seen playing in his backyard. He grew up in a very modest family, where his love for the game started when he was given a cricket bat for his second birthday. And little did the world know that this young boy would go on to become an unrivaled sporting marvel.
Though he was skilled and supremely talented from a very young age, his path to glory too wasn’t devoid of challenges. Coming from a humble background, he had financial constraints and had to overcome a lot of obstacles to realize his dream of playing at the highest level. However, his drive to succeed and the sheer determination he showed was too large for anything to stop him from achieving greatness.
Unleashing Unmatched Batting Prowess
In his formative years, Bradman constantly practised batting. Using a golf ball as the ball and a cricket stump as the bat, he created his own solo game. In the backyard of his family home was a paved area, where a water tank stood on top of a curved brick wall. He would throw the ball at the curve ball and try to hit it back and once it bounced off the ball he would do the same thing again. The thing about the curved ball and the paved area is that the bounce and direction of where the ball would go is unpredictable. And practicing this way developed his timing and reactions to another level.
Credit: Bradman Foundation
He developed a great batting technique from a very young age which was nothing short of extraordinary. His elegant footwork, razor sharp focus and a meticulous eye for detail helped him dominate bowlers with sheer ease. Bradman's early career saw him excel in local matches, catch the attention of selectors, and make a strong impression in his first-class debut.
His Professional Debut and Career Ahead:
Bradman has been performing at the first class stage for a long time but still never got called up for the national team to play test matches. He moved to Sydney for the 1928-29 season to improve Test selection. He scored a century in the Sheffield Shield playing for Sydney against Queensland and was selected for the first Ashes Test which was to be played in Brisbane that season.
Bradman, nicknamed Braddles by his teammates, faced a challenging Test debut in Australia, where he had a bad start with Australia getting bowled embarrassingly for a mere 66. He was dropped to twelfth man for the Second Test. He came back in the Third Test where he scored 79 and 112, becoming the youngest player to make a Test century. The fourth test of the series was a drama. Donald scored 58 and could have guided his team to victory, but he was run out for the only time in his career and Australia ended up losing the match by just 12 runs.
Throughout his Test Career, he played 52 matches, scoring 6996 runs with a high score of 334. He was so brilliant throughout his career that the English team had to devise the notorious Bodyline plan to get him out. The plan was to bowl balls fiercely at the bodies of the Australian Batters to injure them. This series is infamously known as the Bodyline Series and is considered a dark patch in English Cricket and sportsmanship in general.
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The Invincible Ashes Series of 1948:
Credit: Cricbuzz on Instagram
The Invincible Ashes Series was the last series that Don ever played in. He even captained his side in the game and was a farewell to remember for his nation. Australia visited England for the series and came back home after winning the 5-match series by 4-0, which was considered a thumping feat back then. For their performance, this Australian Team was named the Invincibles. On 14th August 1948, Don walked out to the field for the final time ever, where he was out for a duck in his last innings, but nevertheless said goodbye to the game with a win. He concluded his legendary career with an unparalleled legacy, as a true champion and legend.
The Numbers Speak: Unparalleled Records
Sir Don Bradman recorded the highest ever batting average as a batsman with his batting average being at 99.94. It was simply his brilliance and love for the game channelled on the pitch through the willow he held in his hand, that he did what seems to be impossible. The record is so dominant that sports fanatics believe that it is the single greatest achievement in all of sport of all time!
But do you know, Don Bradman’s Batting average could have been a perfect 100 had he not gotten out on a duck in his final innings. He needed just 4 runs to eclipse the average of 100.
Retirement and Later Years
After his retirement from the sport, he ventured into the world of business and was a successful entrepreneur. He stayed connected to the sport becoming a sports journalist and wrote many books about cricket. His books, the Art of Cricket and How to Play cricket are gems about the sport and are now considered as a collector’s piece. Throughout his later years, Bradman received numerous honors and accolades for his contributions to the sport. He was knighted in the year 1949 for his brilliance on the field and his career, and since then received the title ‘Sir’ before his name.
Sir Don Bradman is the Greatest Batsman of all time and there’s nobody who can debate about it. The sport wouldn’t have been here if it were not for the legendary batsman. He changed the game single handedly with the willow in his hand and put it in the forefront by showcasing his greatness. His records may seem unbreakable, but his real legacy lies in his unwavering passion for the game and the mark he has left on the hearts of cricket fans everywhere.
- What is Don Bradman's highest Test batting average?
Bradman's Test batting average is 99.94.
- How many Test centuries did he score in his career?
He scored 29 centuries throughout the illustrious career.
- Did Bradman ever score a triple century in Test cricket?
Yes, he scored two triple centuries in Test cricket.
- How many Ashes series did Bradman play in?
He played in 20 Ashes series in his career.
- Who is considered the greatest batsman of all time?
Sir Donald Bradman may not be the best batsman of all time, but he surely is the greatest.