Don Bradman, commemorating an Australian legend

The 27th of August marks the 103rd anniversary of the birth of Don Bradman, Australia’s greatest sporting icon.

Bradman was born in 1908 at Cootamundra, New South Wales; he grew up in Bowral (NSW) and had an avid interest in cricket. When he was twelve years old, he obtained his first century in a school match (scoring 115 runs, not out, as part of the team’s overall score of 156), and later went on to play for the Bowral cricket team. His natural abilities in the sport were recognized and he was invited to play at state level.

In 1927 (at the age of 19), Bradman had his first-class match debut when he played for the New South Wales team, in a match in Adelaide, against South Australia (scoring 118 runs). He went on to join the national team and broke a number of cricketing records.

Bradman was seen as an eminently fair and honourable player, not only in Australia, but around the world. However, his batting ability was such that the English cricket team, led by Douglas Jardine, resorted to the nasty and most unsportsmanlike tactic of bodyline bowling, whereby a ball was bowled in such a manner as to cause a batsman to hit it in an awkward way or else risk bodily injury. Bodyline bowling was a tactic widely frowned upon, and during the infamous “Bodyline” series, when the English team toured Australia (1932-1933), one Australian player was reported to have said “there are two teams out there and only one of them is playing cricket”.

Bradman went on to break more cricketing records and became captain of the Australian cricket team. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Australian Air Force and then in the Australian Army, but was discharged on medical grounds, due to some medical problems which plagued him for some time. He ended up playing cricket again, before retiring in 1948. It is one of the great shames of cricketing history that Bradman did not retire earlier; prior to his final match, his Test batting average was over a century at 101.39, but he was bowled for a duck in his final match and thus his finishing Test average fell just below the 100 mark (99.94).

Don Bradman continued to play a part in cricket administration and was later knighted for his services. When he died on the 25th of February 2001, “the Don” was hailed as the greatest cricket player that the world had ever seen.

Sir Donald Bradman played well for his country and gave his all. If the patriotic dedication that he gave in the field of sport was emulated by all Australians, especially in the cause of protecting the future of the Australian people and the Australian way of life, then our nation would be so much better for it.

So, on this day, we remember Don Bradman, cricketing icon and Australian legend.



References and further reading:
Roland Perry. The Don, Pan MacMillan Australia, Sydney, 1995 [see p.21 re. score as a 12 year old]
Don Bradman”, Australian Government
Sir Donald Bradman”, Bradman Foundation
The Ashes. Part 6: Bodyline Series”, Abc of Cricket
Sir Donald Bradman at 100”, The Monthly, August 2008
The Bradman Digital Library”, State Library of South Australia
Don Bradman”, Wikipedia
Sir Donald Bradman”, ESPN Cricinfo
Sir Donald Bradman, 2002: A personal recollection” [E.W. Swanton] , ESPN Cricinfo
Obituary, 2002: Don Bradman” [Wisden Almanack], ESPN Cricinfo

Comments

  1. Nick Folkes says:

    Good to see APP celebrating our national heroes past and present.

    Indeed if most Australians emulated the Don we'd be in a much better position but unfortunately we have to deal with treasonous and unpatriotic leaders in the community and politics.

    Bring back the fighting spirit of Don!

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