99.94: Reliving Sir Don Bradman’s legacy on his birth anniversary

Sachin Tendulkar lauded Sir Don Bradman on social media.&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspBCCL

Key Highlights

  • Sir Donald George Bradman was born on 27th August 1908 in New South Wales, Australia
  • In his 20-year international career, he scored 6996 runs for Australia, at an average of 99.94
  • He is widely considered to be the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket

Cricketing circles often employ the epithet, ‘Bradmaneque’ – to anyone whose batting scores are reminiscent of the great man himself. Of late, Steve Smith has been accorded such a term for his remarkable consistency with the bat in Test Matches. However, can anyone really emulate Sir Donald George Bradman? On his 112th birth anniversary, we look back at the legacy of Sir ‘Don’ Bradman, and why his exploits must be revisited today. 

One needs to locate the great man’s career in a historical context. His career spanned two decades (1928-48), but these were arguably the two most tumultuous decades of the 20th century. Entering the international stage as a 20-year old in 1928, Bradman made an impact for Australia almost immediately, scoring a blazing hundred in his second test match. The following season, he scored a world record 452 not out for New South Wales, and after that massive score, there was no looking back. 

Sachin Tendulkar, who has often been quipped as the second Bradman (an observation made by Bradman’s wife Jessie herself, but politely rejected by the Indian legend), took to Twitter on Thursday and brought out the contemporary relevance of Bradman’s career: 

“Sir Don Bradman was away from cricket for several years due to World War II, yet has the highest Test batting average. Today, with concerns about athletes’ form due to uncertainties & long breaks, his career stands even taller as a source of inspiration. Happy birthday Sir Don.”

He piled on the runs, and scored as many as 974 runs in the Ashes of 1930, with two double tons and one triple ton. When England toured Australia in 1932, they faced the daunting prospect of encountering a rampaging Donald Bradman, and Douglas Jardine employed the infamous ‘Bodyline’ tactics largely to curtail him. Despite such ruthless tactics being adopted by England, Bradman ended the series with an average of 56. This in itself sums up the greatness of the legend, and why he holds such a distinguished position in the annals of cricketing folklore. 

Runs continued flowing from his bat. It is safe to say that in the 1930s, Bradman the batsman bordered on infallibility. He simply did not make mistakes, and batted on sedately, frustrating bowlers no end. However, his cricketing career was cut short due to World War II, and many wondered in those tempestuous times, whether they had seen the last of Bradman. However, he did come back and even led Australia as ‘The Invincibles’ to a magnificent triumph against England in 1947-48. 

He left the international arena with 6996 runs, at a colossal (and much talked about) average of ’99.94’. His overall first-class numbers are even more staggering: 28,067 runs with 117 centuries. It is, however, safe to say that Bradman’s legacy isn’t confined to mere statistics. The values he embodied on the field- calmness, determination, balance- can serve as an inspiration for all of us as we live through these uncertain times.

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