5 interesting facts about Don Bradman
|Published August 27, 2016
Sir Donald Bradman is undoubtedly the greatest batsman in the history of the cricket. In fact, he can easily be called the greatest cricketer of all time, but there are those who vouch for Sir Garfield Sobers. Here are 5 interesting facts about Don Bradman.
India has always been a hotbed for Bradman comparisons. In the 70s and 80s, Sunil Gavaskar scaled peaks hitherto unknown, and there were clamours that he was at par with the Don. A generation later, Sachin Tendulkar arrived to steal Gavaskar’s crown. And people were convinced that the Don couldn’t have been better than him. These opinions, rather fallacies, require an analytical survey. For now, let us revel in the legend of Bradman.
1) Century in 18 minutes
In November, 1931 a 23 year old Bradman played for Blackheath. In the opposition was a certain Bill Black. Black, incidentally, had bowled Bradman in a game, a few weeks back. The man had the audacity to boast about it. The news reached Bradman’s ears.
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Those were the days of eight ball overs and it took Bradman just three overs to get his hundred. The sequence was as follows — 6, 6, 4, 2, 4, 4, 6, 1, 6, 4, 4, 6, 6, 4, 6, 4, 6, 6, 1, 4, 4 and 6. He brought up his 100 in 18 minutes and from 22 balls.
Black pleaded to his captain to be taken off, with good reason. He had been smacked for 62 from his two overs. Out of Blackheath’s score of 357, Bradman got 256, an innings that included 29 fours and 14 sixes. Those harbouring doubts about Bradman’s efficiency in the T20 era, would do well to learn of this.
2) Rift with team mates
In spite of being the greatest cricketer of his times, Bradman wasn’t exactly the most popular guy around. He had several well publicised rifts with team mates and opponents.
In the 1930s, when Australian cricket was riding the crest of the Don Bradman tidal wave, the issue of sectarianism had created a chasm within the great side. The team was divided into protestants, including Bradman, and Catholics, chief among them, Jack Fingleton and Bill O’ Reilly.
Also contributing to this were the facts that Bradman was a teetotaller and his parsimony. As a result, when Bradman received monetary gifts from wealthy business people, he did not offer to buy his teammates a drink.
Bradman also had a rivalry with English batsman Sir Walter Hammond. But for Bradman, Hammond would have been known as the greatest cricketer of his time. Hammond made his debut a year before Bradman, and therefore found himself being overshadowed by the Don throughout his career. This caused the Englishman a great deal of resentment.
3) 974 runs in five tests
In the summer of 1930, Bradman scored as many as 930 runs in that years Ashes. His sequence of scores read 8, 131, 254, 1, 334, 14, and 232. His aggregate of 974 runs has not been surpassed till date.
Not only that, Bradman’s 974 runs at 139.14 per innings had come in only 1,580 balls. His strike rate of 61.65 was incredible for those days. To put things in perspective, we look at the strike rates of his team mates. Bill Woodfull scored at 31.65 per hundred balls, Bill Ponsford at 40.14 and Allan Kippax at 39.07.
4) A century every third innings
Bradman is famous for his test match average of 99.94. He scored 6996 runs in 52 matches (80 innings), with 29 centuries. Therefore, his centuries are scored at a rate of more than one century every three innings. Dismissed for a duck in his final innings, Bradman finished 4 runs short of what would have been a remarkable average of 100 in test cricket.
Even in first class cricket, Bradman’s record stands head and shoulders above ordinary mortals. His ability and performance is brought to light with 28,067 runs in 234 matches (338 innings) at an average of 95.14. Not only that, he scored117 centuries. Here too we can see that he averages more than one century every three innings.
5) Passing the mantle to Tendulkar
In 1998, the Don celebrated his 90th birthday. Sachin Tendulkar was the only Indian cricketer invited to the gala. There is a famous photograph of Bradman, Sachin and Shane Warne together on the occasion.
Tendulkar discussed batting average with the great man. Revealing the conversation to The Guardian, the Indian batting maestro said, “We [Tendulkar and Warne] went to see him on his 90th birthday. It was very special. We were talking about averages and I said, ‘Sir Don, if you were playing today, what would you have averaged?’ And he said, 70 probably.’ I asked, ‘Why 70 and not your actual average of 99?’ Bradman said, ‘Come on, an average of 70 is not bad for a 90-year-old man.”
Bradman adored Tendulkar and saw shades of himself in the little master. He revealed as much to his wife on occasion. In fact Tendulkar and Warne were the only modern era cricketers in an All Time XI picked by Bradman. This, however, was published posthumously, and led to controversy, with some doubting its validity.
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