Donald (Don) Bradman was born in 1908 in a small town, Bowral, (population 2000 people) near Sydney, Australia. He started playing cricket seriously when he was in his teens, before that it was just another game. His favorite past time was hitting the golf ball with a cricket stump on to a tank. And this very "past-time" of his went a long way in improving his reflexes and coordinating his eye and hand movement.
Slowly with right breaks he got involved with playing cricket in school and local clubs, Scoring centuries (100 runs or more) with infallible regularity.
In 1920 he went with his father to see a test match at SCG (Sydney cricket ground). After watching Charlie Mc Cartney score 170 runs , he said to his dad "I shall never be happy until I play on this ground."
Soon enough he received an invitation letter from the New South wales cricket association (NSW) to practise at SCG.
He joined the New South Wales Cricket Association, played for St. George and practised at SCG (Sydney cricket ground).
After a successful season with St. George , he was selected to play for NSW state team. And in his very first shield game, his brilliance shown through, as he made a delightful 118 at Adelaide.
Soon enough he was drafted into the national test team, for the home series against England. In his eight innings he scored 468 runs, with two centuries and two half centuries.
From hereon his career just soared like a bird with wings, as far as the human mind can imagine. Bradman, is the only one to hold the maximum number of records, although most of them have been surpassed as years went on.
He went on to become the greatest Test Batsmen the world has ever seen. With an almost unbreakable Batting average of 99.94 (means he score 99 runs every time he went to bat), while today 50 is considered an excellent batting average.
The most historic moment in Don`s life as well as the game of cricket in itself, was the 1932 Bodyline series. England captain Douglas Jardine devised a method of bowling, so that the ball used to fly around the batsmen's head. The bowler pitched the ball at a particular length so that the ball would rise up to the batsmen's head.
Australian batsmen were getting badly injured, and were unable to break the shackles. Jardine positioned up to seven players on the legside, close to the batsmen, to take the catch if the batsmen tried to fend off the ball.
Jardine did manage to keep Don down for the series. But as the series drew to an end, Don devised a plan to counter attack.
He would quickly move off to the leg side and hit the ball on the empty off side. When Jardine put fielders on the off side, Don hit the ball over the bowlers head with a horizontal bat.
A TV series called "Bodyline" was made on this infamous cricket tour.
Australia lost the series.
Don would have his revenge a couple of years later, when the Aussies went to England in 1930 for a 4 test series. This time Don was the captain, he called the shots.
He proved to be a nightmare for the English bowlers, as he scored 974 runs in 8 innings. He mesmerized the English fans with his mastery with the willow, and returned to Australia as a super-star, a demigod.
A stature that he will maintain till today. Sir Donald Bradman is the only Australian to be knighted for his contribution to cricket.
Don Bradman is a legend, one whose name with Test cricket will be synonymous. His legend has been etched in the annals of cricket history in gold, forever.
Sir Donald Bradman, still continues his off the field innings, living a quiet life. He was always known for his gentlemanly behavior, and courteous disposition.
He is one of a kind, and very few will ever match up to his talent. Thank you,sir, for your gift to cricket.
*** Sir Donald Bradman died on the night of February 25'th in his residence at Keningston, Adelaide. He was 92, unfortunately this great Batsman missed another century. But he has scored with the fans, and will be remembered for centuries to come.
Sir Don, may you rest in peace.
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- See also: Profile of Donald Bradman