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Sir Donald Bradman

Sir Donald Bradman

Unquestionably the greatest batsman in the game of cricket, and one of the finest sportsmen of all time, Sir Donald Bradman of Australia was the greatest batsman who ever lived and the greatest cricketer of the 20th century. His batting redefined the sports and his brilliance confounded opponents.

Throughout 1930s and 1945s Bradman was the world’s master class cricketer so far ahead of everyone else that comparisons became pointless. During a 20-year playing career, Bradman consistently scored at a level that widely acknowledge as the greatest Test batsman of all time.

Bradman’s career Test batting average of 99.94 is often cited as the greatest achievement by any sportsman in any major sport. If one has to decide Bradman’s dominance, it would be the 1930 series against England when he amassed a staggering 974 runs at an average of 139.14, and in seven Test series against England he remained a figure of utter dominance.

Donald Bradman was born on 27 August 1908 at Cootamundra, New South Wales. When Bradman was about two-and-a-half years old, his parents decided to relocate to Bowral. In more formal cricket, Bradman hit his first century at the age of 12, with an undefeated 115 playing for Bowral Public School. Bradman left school in 1922 and played Tennis for a period of two years before dropping it for cricket.

Bradman made his first-class debut at the Adelaide Oval, when he was just 19 and secured the achievement of a hundred on debut. He made his International Test cricket debut against England and scored 18 and 1 on a sticky wicket. Bradman was dropped to twelfth man for the second Test. Selectors recalled him for the Third Test at the Melbourne Cricket ground, Bradman scored 79 and 112 to become a youngest played to make a Test century.

That was the turning point of his career; Bradman never looked back after that Test series against England. He went to the crease 80 times in 52 Tests, and scored 29 centuries.

England was favorites to win the 1930 Ashes series, and if the Australians were to exceed expectations, Bradman needed to prosper. Bradman hit 131 in the second innings in his first Test appearance in England, But England won the match. In Third Test at Leeds, Bradman scored 309 not out on a single day, and remains the only Test player to pass 300 in one day’s play.

Don Bradman was not only a dazzling batsman, he was also a brilliant skipper and this was illustrated in the 1939-37 series against England, where Australia bounced back from been 2-0 down to winning the next three matches of the series.

At overall Sir Bradman played 80 innings in 52 Test matches for Australia and scored 6,996 runs with an average of 99.94, which includes 29 centuries and 13 half centuries. The Second World War ate up into Bradman’s playing career and when cricket resume in 1946, he was in poor health. He needed just four runs in his last Test innings, at The Oval in 1948 to ensure an average of 100 – but he was dismissed by Eric Hollies for a duck.

After retirement, he was an astute administrator in the Australian Cricket Board who is well known for his pragmatic handling of World Series Cricket. In 2000, Bradman was selected by cricket expert as one of fice Wisden Cricketers of Century. When the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame was created in Melbourne in 1996, Bradman was made one of its 10 inaugural members. The most significant of his legacy project was the Bradman Museum, opened in 1989 at the Bradman Oval in Bowral.

Sir Bradman died of Pneumonia on February 25, 2001. After his death, the Australian Government produced a 20-cent coin to commemorate his life. For all his achievement in the cricketing world, Sir Don Bradman is one of the greatest mortals to have played the game in the 20th century.