Sir Donald Bradman

Born Aug 1, 1908
Nationality Australia Australia
Nickname The Don

Sir Donald George Bradman aka “The Don” was a professional cricketer from Australia. He was born on August 1908 in Cootamundra, New South Wales, Australia and is acknowledged all over the world as the greatest batsman that time has ever seen. He currently holds the highest achievement in any sport – his Test batting average that has reached 99.94.

If anyone is synonymous with the sport of cricket, it’s Sir Donald Bradman. Over the course of two decades, ‘The Don’ (as he was reverentially known) changed the face of the game with his truly awesome performances at international and domestic levels for Australia.

A beacon of hope for many during the desperate years of the Great Depression, a captain of arguably the greatest side sport has ever known, and a perennial thorn in the side of literally every bowler he faced, The Don’s significance transcended mere sport and continues to penetrate the mentalities of Australians today. Immortalised in songs like ‘Sir Don’, associated with no fewer than five landmarks in Australia (including the central thoroughfare in Adelaide, now known as Sir Donald Bradman Drive), even the face of the Australian 20c coin, his status is near mythical.

It is easy to see why. No fewer than 29 centuries and 13 half-centuries in 52 Test matches, amounting to 6996 runs, gave Bradman the staggering batting average of 99.94. What makes this even more awesome is Bradman’s consistency at domestic level, with a batting average of 95.14 across 234 matches for New South Wales and then South Australia, including 117 centuries. His top score of 334 was a then-world record and, to this day, Australians are loath to surpass The Don, most notably Mark Taylor, who declared on 334 not out rather than top Bradman. For all this and more, Bradman’s status is simply incomparable and, as long as cricket is played, Bradman will be at the forefront.

Unlike the story that as a young child, Bradman practiced alone with the use of a golf ball and a cricket stump, Bradman actually skyrocketed to fame in just two years. By the time he was almost at his 22nd birthday, he had already fully established himself in the world of cricket by setting numerous records for setting high scores. To date, most of these records still remain and in the midst of the Great Depression, Bradman had become Australia’s main idol in sports.

Bradman enjoyed a very colourful 20-year career in cricket. His presence in the cricketing world was such a force that Bill Woodfull has been quoted to have said that Bradman was “worth three batsman to Australia.” And indeed, he was.

Whenever Bradman was playing, each game was a certified crowd drawer. He assured fans that watching his games were definitely their money’s worth. However, this proved to be a sore thumb with his teammates as the focus on his individual performance had become a strain between them. Although many thought Bradman loved the attention, in truth, he disliked the adulations but it affected his interaction with others.

Unlike his first class debut, Bradman’s first Test outing was surprising insofar as it bucked the trend of his career. Caught on a sticky wicked, the Australians were devastated by the English in Brisbane and Bradman immediately found himself out of the side.

The following match, Bradman returned and service was resumed, as he became the youngest player to make a Test century, smashing 112 in the second innings. Although Australia lost the series to England, Bradman continued to impress both at Test and domestic level and was duly selected for the return tour to England in 1930. Up against the Ashes holders, Bradman opened his account on English pitches with a blistering 236 in Worcester. This set the trend for the entire tour, with his performances galvanising the Australians to a famous victory.

On February 25, 2001, Sir Donald George Bradman died at the age of 92. He had a previous brush with death when he suffered from severe loss of blood after an appendicitis removal surgery, but it was his battle with pneumonia that took the life of the great cricket hero.

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