Hundred years since his birth, Don Bradman continues to inspire young cricketers and it would not be wrong to say that he is the greatest legend ever to have played the sport of cricket.
It is not just about the average of 99.94 that Sir Don Bradman is fondly remembered for. The word ‘Bradmanesque’ was coined in his regard. The self made batsman had once said, “I was never coached and was never told how to hold the bat”. At a time when fast bowlers were making a mark all over the world, it was young Don Bradman who stood in defiance. Many of us living in this era never really saw him bat, but his impeccable record speaks for itself. It was the sheer elegance with which he got his runs which left a mark on every one. The controversial Bodyline bowling was started by the English men to counter the talent of Sir Bradman. Under the captainship of Douglas Jardine, the England bowlers began bowling the Bodyline to Sir Bradman in the 1932/33 series. To counter this line and the pace of Larwood, Bradman began backing off to the leg and playing the shots through the off side, Bradman went on to make a hundred in the second innings of the second test. It was the only test that Australia won in that series. Facing criticism from a lot of sources, Bodyline might have ended but the Bradman era never did.
Born in Cootamundra cottage, this young and fiery Australian went on to conquer the world. One regret that all the Indians have is that the great Don never really played in India. It was just one place in the subcontinent that the Don played was and that was Sri Lanka. Another piece of trivia associated with the great Don was that he once went on to score a hundred in three overs, a miraculous performance and one that would surely never get repeated.
The great Don might have missed the average of hundred with a zero in the last innings but some cricketing experts have found the missing four in his career that would take his average to a hundred. But maybe it will not make any difference to the cricketing records now. The great Don had an unmatched record that speaks volumes about his batting prowess. 12 double hundreds, scoring 309 runs in a single cricketing day and even scoring more than a hundred first class hundreds, the great Don left no record unbroken. The recognition that Sachin Tendulkar got from the great Bradman was something that the little master will never forget. The great Don said that he never saw himself bat but if there was some cricketer who he felt batted like him then it was Sachin Tendulkar.
Apart from his batting, Bradman was a shrewd captain and a great human being as well. An interesting thing to note is that Sir Bradman never once got out in the nineties in the tests but in his real life he missed out on his hundred. The great Don may not be alive anymore but he goes on to live in the hearts of millions of his fans. We the people of this present generation may have never seen him bat but yet have heard of his records. The Australian Prime Minister John Howard said, “He was the greatest, nobody will be anywhere near him. He was a hero to me as a young child and he remained a hero to me all of my life”. And that sums up the feeling of all us mortals.
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