View Full Version : Nostalgia! Anecdotes & stories from History of Cricket
October 30, 2003, 08:57 AM
In this thread, I would post such articles or links which talk about the old days, trivia, stories, characters from the history of cricket. Should be a nice diversion.
Lets start of with the best storyteller of em all, 'Cardus'
Latest rice-pudding man
by Neville Cardus
Friday January 24, 1975
It is easy to imagine, from the reports of the Test matches in Australia, that the fast, short-pitched, rising ball bowled by Thomson and Lillee is a newly-invented menace to the physical well-being of batsmen. Indeed, I expect to read, or hear, any moment a statement from some sociologist informing us that the fast bouncer and Thomson and Lillee are by-products of the present-day revival of violence everywhere, letter-bombs, bombs, hijacking, etc. Our sociologist could argue that Thomson and Lillee are hijackers, saying to the batsmen: "Surrender to us your wicket, or we'll put you in hospital."
Alas, there is nothing new under the sun, or the moon. The fast bouncer has like the poor and the jokes of BBC comedians, always been with us. When I was a small boy I saw the Australian bowler Cotter attacking England's batsmen at Old Trafford. I was terrified, mainly because I feared he might hurt my favourite cricketer, R. H. Spooner. In his first over two balls catapulted high above the head of the Australian wicket-keeper.
At Trent Bridge, in this same rubber of 1905, Cotter blasted his way through the England first innings, bombing Hayward, John Gunn and the usually imperturbable F. S. Jackson. John Gunn told me years afterwards, that at the outset of England's second innings, A. C. MacLaren was seen pacing up and down the dressing-room, padded-up, and muttering to himself: "I'll bloody well Cotter him." And MacLaren scored 140, dismissing Cotter's bouncers contemptuously from his presence.
But we need not go as far back as 1905 to seek out the advent of the fast bowler's bouncer, called bumpers then. Only yester-year the West Indians, Hall and Griffith, menaced cranium and thorax; Hall broke the left wrist of Cowdrey at Lord's in 1963 - and Dexter put Hall to the sword with the high disdain of MacLaren. Have the cricket reporters in Australia forgotten Gregory and Macdonald bowling ferocious bouncers in Armstrong's Australian team of 1921?
At Trent Bridge, Gregory with a bouncer knocked out Ernest Tyldesley, the ball hitting his head then falling on the stumps. After the match I saw Ernest Tyldesley's more famous brother J. T. Tyldesley, and I expressed to him my sympathy with Ernest in his bad luck at Trent Bridge. But J. T. was not at all sympathetic. "He was trying to hook and ran into the ball. When a batsman tries to hook he should move over to the offside, then if the ball is not at the right height to hook, he leaves it alone, and the ball passes harmlessly over his left shoulder."
At Leeds, in 1921, the Hon. Lionel Tennyson, with a split hand, assaulted Gregory violently. Stanley McCabe coped triumphantly even with Larwood's nuclear attack, the so-called "body-line", in Australia. We can sum up the contemporary England batsmen's fearsome notion of the bouncer, a general idea that a bouncer is not quite cricket, by pointing out that one of the great strokes in all the batsman's repertory is the hook. And the hook could not have been invented and perfected, except against the short-pitched bouncer.
In a Lancashire v. Nottinghamshire match at Old Trafford, in the late twenties, Larwood was bouncing them. He was horrifically explosive. At the close of Lancashire's innings, E. A. Macdonald, Lancashire's imported and most stylish - and fast and most dangerous of fast bowlers to batsmen's anatomy - went into the Notts' players" dressing-room, advising them to ring up the nearest infirmary for an ambulance. "I'll show you," he threatened, "what a fast bumper really is." And he did. Whysall was hurt and obliged to leave the field. George Gunn walked out of his crease to Macdonald"s fastest. A bouncer came to him on the offside; he actually cut under the ball, sending it over third-man's head, high over, for six. Macdonald stopped in his run to bowl as he saw George walking towards him, out of his crease. "Get back, George," commanded Macdonald, "or I'll knock your head off." George replied to the fastest of fast bowlers, "Ted, you couldn't knock the skin off a rice pudding."
Ernest Jones, also Australian, sent a bouncer through the beard of W. G. Grace and was severely reprimanded verbally and by bat. At Old Trafford, in 1896, Ernest Jones bounced at fierce and lightning pace - and Ranjitsinhji scored 154, not out. In his retirement, Ranjitsinhji told me that one ball from Jones grazed his left ear, drawing blood. "I mistimed; I don't think I was seeing the ball very well that day."
As Compton remarked, over the radio the other day, the bouncer can be more or less controlled, given the technique. English batsmen, in recent years, have had little opportunity to practise against really fast stuff.
One of the most brightening exhibitions of fast bouncing bowling I have ever seen occurred at Old Trafford in 1948 during the England v. Australia Test match. Lindwall was awesome. He almost paralysed Compton's left arm, then, with a "no-ball" so much over the crease that he let the ball go its vicious way far down the pitch, he struck Compton's forehead as in fact Compton actually tried to hook (no running away!) and the missile flew off the edge of his bat. Compton staggered and was led from the field, his forehead bleeding. Stitches were sewn into the wound. He wanted to resume his innings but was advised by a doctor to rest awhile. Edrich (Bill), held the fort bravely, even as his kinsman did at Sydney the other week.
Compton - believe it or not - went to a net to find out if he could still see a quick ball, then resumed his Test match innings, stayed until close of play, and next morning carried his score to 145 not out. As Wisden recorded, Lindwall bowled bouncers with such force and dangerous aim that during this season of 1948 he knocked-out or hurt Compton, Todd, Washbrook (a great hooker), Keeton, Robertson and Watkins.
Bouncers of real pace are obviously not liked by ordinarily batsmen. But if bouncers are ever made illegal one of the imperial strokes will depart from batsmanship, much to the disappointment of the shades of A. C. MacLaren, Trumper, Jessop, Hendreff and Hammond (who, in his early years, was a powerful and noble hooker). I am pretty sure that one or two batsmen still with us would be eager to tackle the short clanging bouncers of Thomson - Barry Richards, for instance, Clive Lloyd and, maybe, Greg Chappell.
October 30, 2003, 12:46 PM
At the close of Lancashire's innings, E. A. Macdonald, Lancashire's imported and most stylish - and fast and most dangerous of fast bowlers to batsmen's anatomy - went into the Notts' players" dressing-room, advising them to ring up the nearest infirmary for an ambulance.
There is a Cardus book - possibly Good days, not sure - which contains a long section on Trentbridge. The ground in those days was a batsmen's paradise and Cardus lovingly describes it as a 'lotus land of batsmen, where it is always afternoon and 304 for two'.
It contains a few Gunn stories including the one that you have mentioned and I guess most of them in the true Cardus tradition, were figments of his imagination. Consider this one :
At 10:30 one morning, Gunn was reading the paper and drinking his morning coffee. His wife reminded him that the match between Notts and Yorkshire (or someone) at Trentbridge was into the second day and he should get going for the match.
'It is alright dear", replied Gunn. "We are batting and I need not hurry".
"But George", replied his wife, "you are batting !".
Gunn looked at the scores again, made certain that indeed, he was notout overnight, got dressed and went off.
Now, no way am I going to believe that this story is true !
[Edited on 30-10-2003 by Tintin]
October 30, 2003, 12:55 PM
As for bouncers, John Arlott tells the story of George Brown, the Hampshire giant who could do just about anything on a cricket field. I wish I could get the exact text because it won't sound half as good in retelling.
Hants were playing Kent and the wicket after a rain was very lively. Brown sent down his share of bouncers at the batsmen. At the innings change, a couple of Kent players went to the Hampshire dressing room to announce their intentions. 'You have had your say, now wait till Fielder gets you'. Arthur Fielder was the Kent opening bowler.
So Hampshire started their innings and wicket was still green. Fielder sent one of the openers to the hospital and Brown came in at No.3 to replace him.
The first ball from Fielder was naturally a bouncer. Brown stood up, dropped his hands and took the ball full on his chest. 'He is not fast', he shouted down the wicket for everyone around to hear.
Brown scored 70 and Hampshire won by seven wickets.
October 30, 2003, 11:14 PM
Thx Tintin for another story! One thing though George Gunn was indeed a brave n fearless n eccentric player. He would walk out to pacers, just not cardus but others have written on it as well
Anyway, here is today' piece from history, this time on Sri Lankan cricketers of past.
--------- ( A query to the cheif administrator of this board. should Posting the entire article would be okay or where there are links available, u just want me to give a small extract and take it upto the link? like wht I hav done below)
Two Sri Lankan masters
The doyen of Sri Lankan batsmen was undoubtedly F.C. (Derek) De Saram. He was born in 1912, into a home of sport and privilege. De Saram was an upper class Burgher who studied at Royal College, Colombo, before going up to Oxford in 1932. Here he was treated shamefully by the cricket authorities (as, years before at Cambridge, had been the experience of another brown-skinned aristocrat, K. S. Ranjitsinhji). They would not even give him a net, so he went off instead to the tennis courts. Here the equation was man-to-man, and the colour of one's skin did not matter so long as one beat one's opponent 6-0, 6-0. De Saram got his tennis Blue two years in a row, then tried his hand once more at The Parks. He was picked for the game against the visiting Australians, scoring an immaculate 100, this against Clarrie Grimmett and Bill O'Reilly, who otherwise carried all before them that summer. Of an Oxford total of 216, last year's reject made 128 (96 of these in boundaries), a lowly 16 being the next highest score. Three of his four sixes were hit off Grimmett. De Saram had now to be chosen for the University match, where he stroked a silken 85 in two hours at the crease.
To read more click
October 31, 2003, 06:32 AM
by David Terry
The bat itself did not have to be heavy like those 4 pound weapons of the late eighteenth century. They were light in weight and shaped somewhat like a hockey stick.8 An Englishman visiting Ireland in 1673 refers to the common people as playing bandy (hurling) with balls and crooked sticks much after our play at stow-ball.9 In fact we can get an idea of these bats by looking at some examples. Around 1700 they are like hockey-sticks, shaped with flat surfaces, and the batsman is usually called a striker. He stood with knees bent and used a downward sweep to hit the ball. The objective was to loft the ball over the heads of the fielders, known as catchers and seekers. Balls were hit to either side of the bowler,10 further emphasising that a hockey-type stick was used. This picture gives us a glimpse of the `play of the game' with strategically placed catchers and seekers who appear as long stops. The toss of a coin determined which team would choose the pitch, and or, the team to bat first.11 It was honorable in got-up games for the captains or best players to pick teams of equal strength from those available.12
In the late seventeenth century, the ball was trundled, not bowled as we know today, in overs of four balls. Does the number four represent the number of stumps used in a game? The lucky number three would have been a more logical choice as it was used in a number of other sports. It is doubtful if the ball was ever rolled along the ground as the contemporary word `trundle' describes, but tossed low aiming at one of the two stumps as the ground was seldom level. It was likely that bowlers both trundled the ball, as would children be taught, and skimmed it above the ground when they became more skilled. Some early bats appear to be shaped to block the grass-cutting bowler.13 The ball itself came in various sizes and colours around 170014 and was waterproofed with grease to avoid picking up moisture.15 There was the ritual of choosing the ball at important matches16 and we can probably look at the limits of the ball being between three and four inches in diameter.17
The heavy modern-type ball with wound core and thick leather cover did not come into use much before 1760 when Richard Duke of Penshurst, Kent was making first class balls between 1748 and 1762.18 He is credited with inventing the modern ball. There is mention of a crimson ball in 1753 and this may be a reference to one of Duke's balls.
To read more click
October 31, 2003, 02:46 PM
The idea of the Flemish being involved with cricket gained credence recently when, first, John Eddows pointed out that John Derrick, had a Flemish surname and gave evidence in a court case at Guildford that he had played cricket there about 1550; and, second, Heiner Gillmeister put forward a theory that the Flemish name for hockey was probably contracted to krik-ket.1
Netherlands or Belgium would have been test champs now if those guys did'nt cross the channel?:)
October 31, 2003, 10:31 PM
Today' story will be on the Great spin bowler Tiger OReilly of Australia
.... Schoolmaster O'Reilly, tall, intelligent, friendly and "straight from
the shoulder" when discussing people or political causes, assuredly
deserved the nickname of "Tiger". It matched his fighting spirit and great tenacity in relentlessly attacking batsmen with his slow to medium-paced spinners. But, apart from facial expressions conveying anything from displeasure to downright determination, there was nothing unacceptably aggressive or hostile about his on-field attitude, except when doubtful decisions went against him.
A teammate on tour related how Tiger, working on a long-range plan to remove one of England's top test batsmen, hit the pads with a magnificent topspinner and appealed in fortissimo. His glare at both the batsman and umpire suggested he was most displeased with the "not
At the end of the over Tiger snatched his cap from the umpire's outstretched hand to convey his disapproval. "He nicked that ball, Bill," explained the umpire. "Yeah, I know," replied the unhappy bowler, "that's what's wrong with the bloody rule."
Read more at
one more article, this time ORielly' views on bowling. Makes for very interesting read as well.
' Defy the Batsman! '
November 2, 2003, 01:13 AM
The following is an edited extract from Ramachandra Guha’s social history of Indian cricket, A Corner of a Foreign Field. This piece appeared in the July issue of Wisden Asia Cricket.
Towards the end of November 1926 the MCC tourists reached Bombay, having
already played in Sind, Rajputana and the Punjab. Cricket in this island
city was now over a century old. The Bombay film industry was in its
infancy, so, for rich and poor, Hindu, Muslim and Parsi, cricket was
still the most widely preferred form of recreation. In the home of
Indian cricket the visitors were to play as many as five matches. Weeks
before they arrived, potential players began making their preparations.
And potential patrons as well. The owner of Gazdar’s Health Home in
Marine Lines offered to place his expertise and his appliances at the
disposal of the local cricketers selected to play against MCC. Equipment
and instruction would be free. If the cricketers “go through certain
vigorous body-building exercises every day”, said Mr Gazdar, “they will
be able to make a better stand all-round."
MCC came to Bombay undefeated. Their first opponents in the city were
the Hindus. In its pre-match report, a nationalist paper, newly started,
captured the feelings of its likely readers: “The tents are pitched and
the field set for the reception of the MCC on Monday next, and thousands
are in their throes of anticipation. India expects Bombay to do its duty
– to check the victorious career of the visitors." Thus far only the
Parsis had defeated visiting teams – Vernon’s side in 1889-90, Lord
Hawke’s side three years later, the Oxford Authentics in 1902-03. “Those
were the palmy days of Parsi cricket,” commented the paper, “but now we
depend upon the Hindus to resist the invaders.”
Twenty-five thousand people turned out for the first day of the
tourists’ match against the Hindus. They were well rewarded. Just before
the close, the visitors were all out for 363. The Somerset amateur GF
Earle hit a rapid 130, with as many as eight sixes. The Hindus were a
nervous 16 for 1 when stumps were drawn.
Already the cricket had been exciting enough. The next day, December 1,
1926, was more electrifying still. The Hindus started steadily, but by
the time they got to 84 had lost two more wickets, including their
captain Palwankar Vithal. CK Nayudu strode in briskly, and lofted his
third ball onto the roof of the Gymkhana pavilion. While LP Jai blocked
at the other end, Nayudu went berserk. He had hit four sixes and got to
50 not out when play was stopped for lunch.
During the interval, the news of the happenings at the Bombay Gymkhana
spread through the city. Office workers headed hastily to the maidan by
train. After lunch, writes one chronicler, “every tree was black with
human spectators, every roof-top was occupied that commanded even a
partial or very distant view of the game." Even if they saw little, the
shouts they heard from inside the ground confirmed that Nayudu was
continuing where he had left off. Sixes and fours poured off his bat as
he reached his hundred, then 150. Two more drives landed on the roof of
the Bombay Gymkhana. A high-class attack led by four Test bowlers was
completely demolished. Nayudu was eventually out, caught in the deep,
for 153. He had batted less than two hours and had hit 13 fours and 11
sixes, the latter a world record.
Each of Nayudu’s boundaries was met with a colossal bout of cheering.
The roar of the crowd, wrote one observer, was so loud that it must have
unnerved the station-master of the Victoria Terminus, half-a-mile away.
“The hand-clappings and those hurrahs and those shouts for [Nayudu’s]
shots were heavier for horizon than the thundering sound of Punjab,
Allahabad, Pioneer mails and what not.” That the Hindus were seven runs
behind on the first innings did not seem to matter in the least. For, as
EW Docker has written, the “importance of the day lay in the emotional
scene at the finish when outside the pavilion in the quickening dusk
people began to gather in little groups craning their necks, straining
every muscle to catch a glimpse of their hero, touch him, garland him
with flowers, press gifts into his hand. How he had raised them up! What
glories he had shown them!"
With Docker we may say that Nayudu’s hundred was Indian cricket’s moment
of arrival. The quality of the opposition and the manner of its conquest
were both unprecedented. On the 1911 tour of England, the great left-arm
spinner Palwankar Baloo had got the better of accomplished county sides,
but apart from his team-mates no Indian had seen it happen. And to the
common man (though not necessarily to the connoisseur) aggressive
batsmanship is always more exciting than artful slow bowling. Nayudu
played the part, and looked it too. He was lithe and handsome, a superb
athlete whose dancing footwork and six-hitting were of a piece with his
brilliant outfielding and more-than-useful medium-pace bowling.
Thirty years later, someone who had bowled to Nayudu that day recalled
that explosive innings of 153. RES Wyatt said that CK’s “ability to
drive good-length balls back over the bowler’s head made it very
difficult for bowlers to keep him quiet”. The Indian batsman’s “perfect
poise, high backlift and long, pendulum swing brought beauty to his
The day after the match ended, a fan who could not even get to a treetop
in time wrote a bitter letter to the newspapers. "SSS" of Kalyan pleaded
for space within the ground for the thousands of “poor people who cannot
check their enthusiasm and whose purse is too lean to bear the price of
a seat in rented tents”. These “have no other alternative than to climb
the trees around them, and if fortune is not on their side, to be a
victim of a bad fall for a single glimpse of the game”. The tents for
the paying public could remain, suggested SSS, but in between the tents
open space might be kept for those with no money but plenty of interest,
who were willing to stand huddled together to watch the game.
Those who could pay, however, got close to their heroes in their
off-duty hours as well. On Sunday, December 5, the Hindu team was
honoured at the Bombay Theatre, with the felicitation followed by a
concert by Hirabai Barodekar, the “world-renowned popular young
songstress of gramophone name”. The tickets were priced at rupees 15,
10, five, four, three, two, and one, with a few available for eight
annas. An advert placed in the papers appealed to the "CITIZENS OF
BOMBAY! ATTEND! ONE AND ALL!! ATTEND!!" This call to all citizens
suggests that Muslims and Parsis were likely to share in Nayudu’s
triumph. Another sign of an inclusive nationalism was that the featured
singer, Hirabai Barodekar, was half Hindu, half Muslim.
The evening after the show at the Bombay Theatre, Nayudu and his
team-mates were honoured at the Damodar Thakersee Mooljee Hall in Parel.
Presiding over the function was the famous liberal lawyer MR Jayakar.
The cricketers watched a performance of The Taming of the Shrew in
Marathi, put up by the Social Service League, and later received medals
on behalf of the jewellery firm of Narotham Bhawoo and Company. Only one
person received a Gold Medal – CK Nayudu, “as a mark of appreciation by
the Parel public, especially the clerks and operatives employed in mills
and factories, of his splendid performance with the bat”. Some days
later, Nayudu was presented with a silver bat and a Triumph motor-cycle
with an attached sidecar, the gifts being made on behalf of “friends and
admirers of Hindu cricketers”.
With no disrespect to ME Pavri and KM Mistry, Ahmed Botawala and Ali
Wazir, Baloo and Vithal, Nayudu was the first Indian cricketer to be a
popular hero, whose appeal transcended the barriers of caste, class,
gender and religion. One did not need to have a cultivated interest in
the art of cricket to recognise his achievements. Nayudu’s display of
fireworks was timed to perfection. To play an innings like that, against
the English, in 1926, in Bombay, and on the Bombay Gymkhana ground, was
to tap into all the sources of nationalist pride. What we know of the
man suggests that Nayudu did not have any firm views on Raj and Swaraj.
Yet he would become, almost despite himself, an icon for all patriotic
Ramachandra Guha is a historian and cricket writer. His books include
Wickets in the East and, as editor, The Picador Book of Cricket.
November 2, 2003, 09:58 PM
An Eleven of fielders
I want in this column to choose an eleven of great fielders from across the long history of international cricket. I have set one condition: that to be picked the fielder must have been good enough to play as batsman or bowler in a world XI of his time. I wish, in other words, to have a genuinely all-round team of quality, a side which is equally skilled in all departments of the game.
November 4, 2003, 12:13 AM
PETER MAY by Alan Hill
Peter May, the Charterhouse School boy prodigy, was always destined for greatness. The commitment of the boyish, courteous champion gained him the accolade of the finest batsman to be produced by England since the Second World War. Sir Cohn Cowdrey, an inseparable cricket companion, markedly recalls Peter as a man with a “gracious, gentle streak”, but easily the toughest cricketer with whom he was associated during his own distinguished career. “His physical strength was immense and it was backed up by an astonishing determination.”
Yet how he did such a modest, self-deprecating, and diffident man arouse the hurrahs of affection and acclaim? In the delightful phrase of one of his daughters, Peter was never one to “throw whoopee”. John Warr, a close family friend and Cambridge contemporary, has remarked, “He was so shy, we almost had to drag him to parties”.
November 4, 2003, 02:10 AM
I am really enjoying this thread!
November 4, 2003, 11:23 PM
Glad that u r enjoying the thread Pompous.
TOday on the Greatest batsman of em all, the Don
Bradman on sledging:
"I played under Alan Kippax in New South Wales for some time, I played under Jack Ryder in the Test series in 28-29, I played under Bill Woodfull in 1930 until he retired, and I captained the side until I
retired. And in the whole of that time, I don't recall one single incident of sledging. It never occurred, and it would not have occurred because it would not have been allowed, not one of those
captains would have allowed it. If it had happened under me I would have given the fellow one warni ng, and if it had happened again I would have made sure he was not selected again.... it never went on in my day, not at all, and I don't think it should happen now."
Give him 300 and ask him to go out,'' shouted a spectator at the
Australians v Worcestershire match in 1934 during Don Bradman's
innings of 206, the second of the three consecutive double centuries
he made against that County. A lady watching the Don score 452 not out
in 415 minutes for NSW against Queensland on January 30, 1930,
remarked ``Why don't they let someone else have a turn? I am sick of
looking at him.''
That the Don was a nightmare to the bowlers is revealed in a despatch
by Arthur Mailey in 1949. He wrote ``I felt sorry for those bowlers
who were and will be up tomorrow against Bradman. Breaking through his
defence is even more difficult than getting clearance from the
Taxation Department.I've tried both.''
Bill O Reilly on Don:
There's never been and never will be in my estimation a batsman so
good as that fella. I don't care how many you like to pour into one -
all the Chappells, the Borders and so on. Forget them, they're just
child's play compared with Bradman, and I've seen them all. Bradman
was a bloke whose ability with the bat was absolutely inconceivable.
The Yanks talk about Babe Ruth and all that. To hell with Babe Ruth.
This boy was a modern miracle.''
John Bradman, the son on his father :
I recall one night just after I'd gone to bed, I heard this wailing coming from his room and I ran in to find him jumping up and down slapping himself. He'd hopped into bed and had been bitten by a swarm
of bees ... the Department of Agriculture had a special unit that dealt with bees.
"So the next morning he rang them up and said my name is Don Bradman
and I've got some bees in my cavity wall. And as quick as a flash the bloke on the phone said: `Well my name is Bill Smith and I've got bats in the belfry' and hung up. The poor fellow thought it was a joke.''
Mr Bradman reiterated his belief that his father should not be so revered that he becomes god-like. "I was in the State Library recently where some of his things are in a collection ... one item is a rug
which used to be on the floor of my room. It's in the design of the Australian blazer pocket and it has a dark green ackground and in this dark green background are some faded patches. "I was standing next to some people and they were discussing these pale patches in hushed tones and with almost reverential significance ... I could have
told them they were the patches where my little dog had peed on it.''
'Bradman could read a batsman and tell you how to bowl to him, but he did it obliquely, as with Bill Edrich, who tended to play across the line, at Lord's in 1948. Lindwall habitually placed a short leg behind the square leg umpire. When Edrich came in, Bradman asked Lindwall:
'Do you want that short leg behind or in front of the umpire?'
'No, leave him there,' Lindwall said.
He bowled a couple to Edrich and would have had him caught by the short leg if he had taken Bradman's hint. He asked Bradman if he should move the fielder.
'It's too late now,' Bradman said; 'he won't play that shot again.' Edrich played against Australia for another five years; Lindwall says he always had him in trouble as a result of Bradman's tip.
Lindwall recalls that the team attended a black tie function while a match was in progress, and that three of the bowlers on duty, himself, Colin McCool and Ern Toshach, were then invited to a party 15 miles out of London. They had to m ake three separate cab trips to get there;
this persuaded them to stay at the party rather than attempt a complicated trip back in the early hours of the morning. When they did get back, still in dinner suits, they went up the hotel stairs in case
Bradman was in the lift, but met him doing his exercises. The great man said no more than: 'Have a nice night? You had better do all right today.'
They had a shower and took the field. Bradman bowled the three of them
all morning; each took three wickets. Lindwall was on the rubbing table at lunch when Bradman 'smacked me on the behind' and said: 'You were pretty lucky today.'
'Why? We got them all out.'
'If you hadn't I would have liked to see the three of you bowling all afternoon.'
Bradman had a horror start as captain. He lost the toss at the 'Gabba,
watched his main strike bowler Ernie McCormick break down and was out
for a duck in the second innings on a sticky wicket. England romped home by 322 runs and won the second Test in Sydney by an innings, rain once again coming to its aid. Bradman made his second successive duck and the critics were not impressed with the scoreboard - England 2, Australia 0 and in grave danger of losing the Ashes. One ewspaper reported that Bradman, the spotlight now focused on him all the time
and his anxiety level full to overflowing, was not getting the loyal support of all his players. McCabe issued a statement saying the players were behind him.
Things turned around for Australia and Bradman in the third Test in Melbourne. With rain a factor for the third time and England batting on a sticky wicket, the shrewd Bradman told his bowlers not to get England out. When Allen declared (too late, as it turned out) towards
the end of play on Saturday, the wicket was still unfriendly. Bradman gambled and opened the second innings with tail-enders Bill O'Reilly and a stunned `Chuck' Fleetwood-Smith.
O¦Reilly was out first ball, but Fleetwood-Smith survived, joking that he had the game by the throat.
BY Monday the wicket had lost its fire and, with Bradman back to his fluent best with 270, Australia won. Bradman's improvisation had paid off. This time Allen's captaincy was under fire. He might have clinched the series 3-0 if he had declared England's second innings
sooner and exposed Australia to the damp wicket. Australia won the next two Tests, the captain contributing 212 and 169, to retain the Ashes 3-2 and Bradman had come through his first baptism of fire with his reputation enhanced.
In Adelaide against the might of the West Indies Merv Hughes had just completed his highest Test innings of 72 not out, sharing in an 114 run 9th wicket partnership with Dean Jones (216). Hughes was relaxing, towel around his neck, enjoying a cold something and bathing in the kudos of his colleagues for some cavalier, entertaining and ridiculous
batsmanship. Then The Don entered the room. After congratulating Jones on his strokeplay, Bradman cast an eye at the big, sweaty, moustachioed fast bowler, shook his head and said, "It’s a funny game, cricket."
-Michael Parkinson on Don:
There is, for instance, the tale of Bill Black, an off-spin bowler playing for Lithgow, who on a memorable day in 1931 bowled Bradman for 52. The umpire was so excited that when the ball hit Bradman's wicket he called out: "Bill, you've got him."
The ball was mounted and given to Black as proof that he had dismissed
the greatest batsman in the world.
Later that season Don Bradman again played against Black. As the bowler marked out his run, Don said to the wicketkeeper: "What sort of bowler is this fellow?"
The wicketkeeper, a mischief-maker like the rest of his tribe, replied: "Don't you remember this bloke? He bowled you out a few weeks ago and has been boasting about it ever since."
"Is that so?" said Bradman. Two overs later Black pleaded with his skipper to be taken off. Bradman had hit him for 62 runs in two eight-ball overs. He made 100 in three overs and finished with 256,
including 14 sixes and 29 fours.
On Bradman's first tour of England in 1930 there was a popular rumour that the English pitches would sort him out. As an ardent subscriber to this theory, George Macauley, the feisty Yorkshire seam bowler, couldn't wait to get at Bradman.
When Yorkshire played the Australians Macauley demanded loudly of his captain: "Let me have a go at this bugger." His first over was a maiden. Bradman then hit him for five fours in the second over and took 16 from the third. A spectator yelled: "George, tha' should have kept thi' bloody trap shut."
In Sir Donald's last first-class game at Sydney, Miller greeted him with two bouncers. The first, of the harmless variety, was hit for four. The second, preceded by a gesture to the press box declaring: 'If you think that was funny, you ain't seen nothing yet,' nearly
decapitated Sir Donald, who at the time happened to be chief selector.
His personal setbacks:
Sir Donald has had to confront much sadness in his personal life, which perhaps strengthened his resolve to remain a private person. His son, John, born in 1939, three years after the death of the Bradman's infant son, was afflicted by poliomyelitis was a young teenager. He made a full recovery from the virus but continued to suffer because he was the son of Don Bradman.
In 1972 John changed his name by deed poll. At that time Sir Donald said: "Only those who have to live with the incessant strain of publicity can have any idea of its impact".
Daughter Shirley was born with cerebral palsy. Lady Bradman, who had heart bypass surgery several years ago, and her husband have had periods of indifferent and poor health
November 4, 2003, 11:33 PM
Fingleton on Bradman:
His batting stance was unique. His bat touched the ground between his feet, not behind them, like every other batsman and photograph I have seen. He stood perfectly still as the bowler approached; the end of his bat did not act as an escape conductor for energy with that
nervous tap, tap, tap on the pitch so common to most batsmen as the
bowler ran to deliver the ball.''
``He was at once the despair of the bowlers, the captain and his fieldsmen, the batting worthy struggling at the other end and his comrades in the pavilion. He made it all look so easy, so simple, so
pre-arranged. He always made the nlooker feel that a loose ball would
be lifted for four to the very place on the boundary to which science required that ball should be sent''.
``His genius was absolute. To bat with him was an education and revelation, not given by any other batsman of the period. Great artists like Trumper and Macartney varied the direction of the shot for sheer artistic satisfaction but Bradman was implacable. He was more interested in runs than art, and in the days when he was playing for Australia you would have searched a long time before you found an
onlooker who seriously disagreed with him. He was the undisputed hero
of the new-found public, the broadcasting public. He was the darling of the spectator's heart - and justifiably so, because no batsman in history had been so prolific and none of the moderns could approach the standard he set for consistency and sheer honesty of batting
And Jack Fingleton concludes, ``All bowlers with the possible exception of O'Reilly, whom he first met in a country game, came alike to Bradman. At one time or another he took up Tate, Larwood (before bodyline), Geary, Voce, Freeman, Verity, Constantine, Francis, Griffiths, Grimmett, Fleetwood-Smith, Ebeling, Blackie, Ironmonger, Oxenham, Quinn, Bell, Morkel, McMillan, and the rest of the world's best. He was wary and respectful always with O'Reilly, but the others
he closely analysed and then slashed them apart before he left them
bewildered, abashed and out of breath.''
account in Fingleton' Cricket Crisis of Bradman's "cold and deliberate
cricket murder" of Mailey's bowling in a charity match - a charity match! - in the early 1930s, motivated by a newspaper story on the eve of the match, suggests little charity in Bradman's ego.
Wrote Fingleton: "A statistician found Mailey, then a cricket veteran, had taken Bradman's wicket several times. The newspapers displayed the fact. [But] it meant for Mailey his offering on the sacrificial altar of Bradman's greatness, for the little chap never missed a cricket
item ... Bradman put Mailey in the stocks that day for all to see. He hanged, drew and quartered him. Mailey was butchered to make another Bradman holiday."
Great Australian Cricket Stories by Neil Marks, the former NSW cricketer and selector who has made a second career as an author and raconteur of sports yarns.
Marks' father Alec, better known as Acka, was also a forceful NSW batsman in his prime and became close mates with his young team-mate Bradman.
There is the story of Acka, an expert snooker player, beating the novice Bradman in a friendly game.
Five years later, when Bradman had moved to Adelaide, he invited Acka
to his home when the two were playing a Shield match against each other.
After dinner Bradman led the way to a full-sized snooker table – and wiped the table with his guest. He had been plotting his revenge for years.
Another story relates how Acka worked on his bowling and was on the verge of selection as an all-rounder on an Ashes tour.
In the final trial match against Bradman's team he scored 83 and then was given a bowl. His good mate Bradman smashed him all over the park, ending any tour hopes.
When Acka remarked jokingly that radman could have gone easy on him
and got his friend on the boat, Bradman answered seriously: "It never dawned on me."
Finally Acka did make an Australian Test squad, captained by Bradman, who was also a selector, as 12th man.
It was the highlight of his career and he was justifiably chuffed. Then Bradman deflated him by saying he had pulled strings to get Acka into the side, securing him match payment as a "wedding present".
As Neil Marks wrote, Bradman never realised how much he had hurt his
No, The Don wasn't a god, just a bloke.
Cardus on Don:
At Adelaide, at close of play on a hot day on which Donald Bradman amassed 212, I asked Bill Voce, the Nottinghamshire and England fast left-handed bowler: "What's the best ball to bowl at 'The Don'?" Out
of his heart, Bill replied: "There's no ruddy best ball to bowl at him."
Bradman scored a century on his first appearance in first-class cricket. One of the opposing bowlers, a famous Australian captain, was asked after his baptism of Bradman: "What's this new young cove like?"
"He belts hell out of everything he can reach," was the reply, which, I think, can be taken as the most eloquent of all ways of describing Bradman's batting. He was a killer of all kind of bowling, given a good pitch to play on.
A splendid South African bowler told me that, at Adelaide, Bradman hit him for three fours in one of his first overs, the ball still new. His captain thereupon asked: "What's the matter?" The bowler answered: "Well, if you really want to know, he's just hit for hellfire fours
three of the best balls I've ever bowled in my life."
Cardus adds in a different context,'' one afternoon I was walking along Whiteall I saw a newspaper placard: ``Bradman Fails'' and in the stop press I read, ``Bradman b Ryan 58
when the Don scored 334 runs in a 1930 Test at Leeds, and a London newspaper finally trumpeted just two grateful words on posters around the city: "HE'S OUT!"
Micheal Henderson with a fancy story
Nevertheless, I think I have a beauty. It was told to me by the great Australian batsman, Dean Jones, who positively swore on the head of his daughter it happened, and I have since been told that Merv Hughes also confirms its truth.
The scene is set at a Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Adelaide Oval back in February 1989. These were the days when the Windies were the greatest power the cricketing world had ever seen, the days when they used to select 11 fast bowlers in the team and a
12th man who was a fast bowler just to be on the safe side.
And it was into just such a furnace that the young bowler Mervyn Hughes walked - with bat in hand. Figuring fortune favoured the brave, Hughes wielded the willow like an axeman his axe, and somehow - after snicking fortutiously, connecting full-bloodedly, and missing entirely - he finished the day's play at 72 not out.
The tradition in Test cricket is that the batting side take a few beers into the fielding side's dressing-room afterwards, but not on this evening. Instead, Merv took an ice-box full of bottles, so keen
was he to give the men of the Windies the full blow-by-blow account of every run he'd made. So it was that half an hour later, Jones - who himself had contributed 216 - and Hughes and several other Australian players were in the Windies dressing-room, when a sudden hush fell
upon the gathering.
They looked to the door and there was Sir Donald Bradman himself, being ushered into the room by several South Australian cricket officials. The Don had expressed a desire to meet this mighty team, and now here he was.
For the next 15 minutes or so, the great man was introduced to the visiting players, with each West Indian standing up well before Sir Donald got to their position on the bench. Then, when their time came, they warmly shook his hand and had a few words.
This all proceeded splendidly until Sir Donald got to the last man on the bench, Patrick Patterson - the fastest bowler in the world at that time. So the story goes, not only did Patterson not stand, he simply squinted quizzically up at the octogenarian. Finally, after some 30 seconds of awkward silence, Patterson stood up, all two metres of pure whip-cord steel of him, and looked down at the diminutive Don.
"You, Don Bradman!?!" he snorted. "You, Don Bradman?!?! I kill you, mun! I bowl at you, I kill you! I split you in two!"
In reply, Sir Donald, with his hands on his hips, gazed squarely back at Patterson and calmly retorted: "You couldn't even get Merv Hughes out. You'd have no chance against me, mate!"
More stories on Bradman.
Bradman: Oh yes, that's a great story, that happened the other day.
I'd been having a round of golf and was driving home quietly about 3 o'clock. The strange thing was it was alongside Victoria Park racecourse, near the grand prix circuit. I was actually driving on the
grand prix circuit and the policeman waved me down, there were no other cars in the vicinity at all. I thought he'd broken down and wanted some help. And when he pulled me over he said "I'm sorry but you've been exceeding the speed limit." I said "No I'm not, the speed
limit's 80 (kmhs) here, and I was only doing about 70." He said "No it's not, it's 60 and my radar gun says you were exceeding the speed limit, you were doing 72." Then he said "Have you got your licence with you," so I pulled out the
wallet and produced it to him. He got out his book and began to make some notes, then he said "Are you Sir Donald radman?" I said yes, that's right, and he said "it's an honour and a privilege to meet you," and I said "Well I'm very sorry I can't say the same to you."
RM: (laughs) Did he book you?
DB: He certainly did, I went away $173 poorer and a lot wiser.
RM: So there's a policeman in South Australia who had been brazen
enough to book Donald Bradman?
DB: Yes, well that proves that there are no corrupts in the police force in South Australia (laughs)
RM: Are you a speed merchant by nature?
DB: Well no I'm not, I'm such a slow driver that theres a story in our family...we were driving to town one day, and my daughter said to me "What's the matter Dad, are we driving into a head wind?" (laughs)
Thats my reputation as a driver.
Ram Guha on Bradman
The Don never played in this country, but was adored here nevertheless. He retired in 1948, and five years later decided to make another visit to England, as a ournalist. As it happens, his aircraft
made an unscheduled stopover at Kolkata's Dum Dum airport. Word got
around, somehow, and within minutes there were 5,000 cricket-crazy Indians on the tarmac, screaming for him. Bradman hastily got into an army jeep and took refuge in a barricaded building.
My feelings regarding Vivian Richards were anticipated by a Yorkshire
cricket lover watching Don Bradman in the summer of 1948. He loved him, for his brilliant batsmanship, and hated him, for all those runs scored against his side. As Bradman walked off the Headingley ground for the last time, having hit 173 not out to take Australia to an emphatic victory, this Yorkshireman stopped the foreign foe on the pavilion steps. Eyes brimming with tears - tears of anger and of admiration - he spoke the two words that best expressed his complex
emotions: "Yer booger!"
Some years later(after the record 499, by Hanif Mohammed ) the Pakistani cricket team toured Australia. When they played South Australia at Adelaide, Sir Donald Bradman walked into their dressing
room and asked to meet the man who had broken his record score of 452.
Hanif got up, and apologetically said, ''Sir, you will always be the greatest.'' The Don looked him up and down and replied, shaking his head: ''So you are the fellow. I always thought that the batsman who
broke my record would be six feet two inches tall. But you are shorter
When the city of Adelaide decided to rename a street for Sir Don, several businesses on the strip tried to cash in on the cricketer's reputation-for example, the Ultimate Risk Sex Shop intended to rename itself "Erotica on Bradman" but changed its mind after a wave of negative publicity. Eventually, the Australian government changed the law to prevent businesses from using Bradman's name to suggest a commercial connection.
Teetotal and a non- smoker, when possible he avoided rowdy celebration, although as a talented pianist he would occasionally be roped in to accompany sing-songs. After he made 309 not out on the first day of the Test match at eadingley in 1930, against an attack
including Larwood and Tate, he went up to his room to listen to music and write letters all evening.
Some of his team-mates resented this attitude. In particular, the Irish and Roman Catholic members of Australia's side in the 1930s - Jack Fingleton and Bill O'Reilly to the fore - took exception to the
tight, dedicated, Empire-loving, Royalty-idolising, aristocrat-appreciating genius under whose shadow they lay.
``A churlish little man,'' Fingleton called Bradman in 1980, all passion clearly not spent
In May 1941 Bradman was discharged from the Army on medical grounds. A
frozen shoulder left him unable to lift his right arm. He also lost all feeling in the thumb and index finger of his right hand; it never returned, he wrote in his book Farewell to Cricket (1950).
For the rest of the war Bradman busied himself with his work on the Adelaide stock exchange, on which he bought a seat in 1943. But even this occupation proved fraught, as Harry Hodgett, his boss, was imprisoned for fraud in 1945. Bradman worked hard and successfully to
restore the position of the firm, which now traded as Don Bradman and Company. During this period, he recorded, ``cricket never crossed my
...He continued to work as a stockbroker until 1954 when he announced,
rather curiously, that his doctor had advised him to retire.
November 4, 2003, 11:36 PM
Don Bradman: My father took me down to Sydney to see two days of the Fifth Test between Australia and England. That was the only first-class match I ever saw until I played in one. I can still hear the sound of the ball going into Sammy Carter’s gloves when they bowled. And xtraordinary thing, after all these years, I can still memorise the sound of that ball going into Sammy Carter’s gloves. But
of course my greatest memory of the match was that this was on the
Sydney Cricket Ground, which I’d never seen before, and it was a magnificent ground, and I said to my father, ‘I shall never be happy until I play on this ground.’
Bill O'Reilly: Bradman was the greatest cricketer ever that I saw walk through a gate onto a cricket field anywhere that I’ve been, there’s no doubt whatsoever about that. He had everything it needed to take charge of a game and to call the tune all the time he was out in the middle, which he generally did. To bowl against Bradman with my way of
bowling, I regarded it as the greatest experience that you could have out in the middle, because I acquitted myself – I think I just about broke even with him, too. Someday some researcher will tell me how I stood with him. For instance the first time ever we played against
each other as kids, he got 234 on the first Saturday. I did get him spilled a couple of times under tragic circumstances in the slips. And 234 not out, and I spent the rest of the week wondering (I was then a
university boy, home on holidays at Bowral and Wingello) and the rest
of that week I spent saying to yself, ‘Well God blimey, forget about cricket, go back to Botany Harriers and start high jumping and running again. If a kid like that, 17, can do what he did to you there,
there’s not much hope.’ But then again, the next Saturday, I rolled him head over heels first ball of the day, and I thought, ‘God, this isn’t a bad game at all; this’ll do me, I’ll stick at it.’ And I think
probably a little bit of research along the track would show that my duels with him weren’t lopsided.
Bill O'Reilly: I would say old Walter Scott writing one of his novels would have regarded him as a recluse. He was a man who had nothing really to contribute socially amongst any of the boys at all, and in fact what’s more, looking back now, I don’t think I ever really got to
know Bradman, and I knew him longer than any other cricketer that has ever lived, because we met as kids in the bush.
Charles Williams (Labour life peer in the English House of Lords and biographer of Bradman) on Don:
Now why a sporting hero? Well Australia has never had a war of independence, it’s therefore never had a George ashington, it’s never had a civil war, never had a Lenin, it’s never had a war against a
close enemy, it’s therefore never had a Joan of Arc, and so on and so forth. Its heroes have mainly been sporting heroes, and because of the climate and individualism of Australia and those who live there, sport has been particularly attractive, and particular attention has been given to it. So in the circumstances it’s not wholly surprising that a sporting figure who achieved what Don achieved, should be much more than just a simple sporting figure; he was almost, as it were, an amalgam of, say, Joan of Arc and George Washington and Lenin at the
same time, if I can use that expression.
Williams on Don unpopularity with some of team mates:
Within the ranks of the Australian cricket side, however, Bradman wasn’t always as popular with his team-mates as he was with the public. Charles Williams says that one of the reasons for this, that bubbled away under the surface, was the ectarian divide in the team, the division between Catholics and Protestants that was potent in Australian society and politics throughout the first half of the 20th century.
Williams: Like all these things it’s a mixture. Certainly there was that, and as Don said to me in a slightly bitter tone, it’s the only time he got rather bitter during our conversation, ‘Fingleton was the ringleader’ and he said when they went to Melbourne they were met by
priests in cassocks. You know, it was quite powerful stuff. That was part of it. Part of it of course was jealousy, straight jealousy, that Bradman was the hero, Bradman was the man that people wanted to see. If Bradman got out, all the grounds emptied even if Jack Fingleton was going in to bat. And that was irritating for people like O’Reilly and
Fingleton, who were in their own right, cricketers of the highest standard.
The third problem was that Don himself was not the easiest character to get on with. He was, in his playing days, he was quite sharp, he was a pretty fierce Captain, he played to win and there wasn’t much quarter given to the opponent or indeed sometimes his own side. He was also, up until the late ‘30s he was a teetotaller, didn’t like all
this noisy stuff, couldn’t understand why people drank beer, didn’t understand why people smoked, didn’t see what good it did them.
Whereas the O’Reilly/Fingleton/Fleetwood-Smith those people, they all of them enjoyed a beer and enjoyed having a good time and there was a good deal of social tension of that nature. The classic story is when Don came out at Headingley in 1930 and all the boys rallied round and said, ‘Well, you know, Braddles, you know, have a drink and
celebrate’, and he said, ‘I’d rather go up to my hotel room and write a few letters’, which he did, and listened to some music. Now that was an odd thing in a way, if I may put it like this without offence, for
an Australian to do. An odd thing for anybody to do, but for an Australian particularly in a side like that, in a touring side, it was regarded as being pretty stand-offish, they didn’t like it. So there
was a combination of all these factors.
Charles Williams: He talked at some length about the vendetta, he
called it, that Fingleton led against him, as Fingleton was the ringleader. And he talked about the problems he’d had in ‘36/7 and the England tour of 1938, and he said that one of the factors in 1948, after the War, which led him to accept at a relatively advanced age,
the Captaincy of the Australian touring side, was the fact that O’Reilly and Fingleton had both retired. And the fact that the ’48 side was in his view a very happy side, which is borne out by every
other commentator, was due to the fact that the schism that was there in ‘36/7 and ’38 was no longer there. So although there may have been no overt rows about religion, because I don’t think Don’s the sort of person who had that sort of row, it was an underlying theme that was an irritant when they all, for instance, on board ship, he said, they
all went off together to mass on the Sunday, and they made a point of doing that, in a rather sort of pointed manner. Where of course Bradman and the other Protestants didn’t go to mass, it was a Catholic mass. It’s that sort of thing rather than overt rows I think that made
for tension in the team
It has been well documented that until poor health beset him, Bradman was a keen golfer. Some years ago, he was playing a round with Dean Jones. At one stage, Jones was in the rough, and he was circling his ball, trying to figure out how to get it past several tall trees
between it and the fairway. As his playing partner was deep in thought, Bradman said: 'In my day, when I played here as a young man, a three-iron was good enough to get it through those trees.'
Presumably thinking that any sporting advice from The Don was good advice, Jones pulled out his three-iron, reared back and ... THWACK!
Straight into the trees. Seeing Jones's perplexed expression, Bradman stated calmly, while holding his hand at knee level: 'Of course, in my day, the trees were only so high'
In the 1928-1940 era," Lawry aid, "Bradman used to fill the grounds.
In my era, I used to empty them.''
During Bradman’s second century I learned that he was suffering from
ill-health. I fancy it was a touch of ‘flu with a rising temperature. I dare say if he had had plague we should have got rid of him for 150.
Was Larwood the fastest bowler you ever saw?
Don: No he wasn't. At his best he was very good, very fast, but the fastest bowler I've ever seen was Frank Tyson ... he wasn't a good a bowler as Harold but he was exceptionally fast.
When did you first fall in love with Jessie Menzies?
DB: Err, I think that would be the day she came to live with us when I was about 12 years of age. I remember the day very well because I had been sent down the street by my mother on a mission to buy some groceries, and I ran into the doctor's car...on my bike, and had an
accident. He had to take me home, I had my nose all cut and scratches all over my face. And when I got home she was there at the door, having just been delivered by her father, because she was going to
stay with us for 12 months and go to school. And we went to school together every day for the rest of that year. That was when I fell in love with her, that very first day. I don't think she fell in love
with me until much later, because I was a terrible sight the day she saw me.
RM: (laughs) Did you decide then you were going to marry her?
DB: (smiles) No, no not quite then..but very shortly afterwards.
RM: But she turned you down first up, in 1932..?
DB: No, no, she didn't turn me down then..just postponed it.
RM: I see, but you wanted to marry her before you went on the 1930 tour?
DB: No I only wanted to be engaged, I didn't want to get married.
RM: And she said no?
DB: She said "Wait until you get back from England, and if you still feel the same way, talk to me again."
RM: And you did?
DB: And I did, straight away..as soon as I got back.
RM: Could you have done all this without Jessie?
DB: No, no..no way in the world, no way in the world. She's the most
marvellous woman who ever existed
Can I ask you the story about the missing engagement ring?
DB: Well it's a bit of a mystery (sips water) Yes, I brought her a nice engagement ring..single diamond, with a couple of diamonds each side, and one day she reported to me that she couldn't find it. And so we racked our brains and searched everywhere, but we couldn't find it. So we finally came to the conclusion that she'd taken it off while
preparing some vegetables, and it had been thrown out. And that was the end of it and we couldn't find it anywhere..this went on for about 20 years, and then one day I was scratching around in the garden, up in the backyard, and I suddenly saw something glint in the sunlight. I turned it over, and it was a ring. I picked this ring up, and it
looked like one of the rings the kids get at the show. I took it inside and said to my wife "Do you recognize this, did one of the kids get it in a showbag or something like that?" She took one look and said "Good gracious, that's my ngagement ring". It turns out it had
been thrown out in the rubbish, it had gone through the incinerator, it had gone through the vegetable garden, and I accidently scratched it up on a gravel path. So we got it restored and she wears it today, absolutely beautiful. A miracle.
RM: (laughs) Was she the boss?
DB: She always has been.
Don Bradman: In retrospect I think my feeling is one of gratitude that I was given such a great opportunity through sport to serve my country. As a boy I had no idea that my career would develop in this fashion, I just simply loved playing cricket as a sport, and I can truthfully say that it was a labour of love. I continued to play it as a sport throughout the whole of my career. I was not in a position of
power; my parents were humble country folk, they had no wealth or influence. Any success I had was purely the result of my own talents, and I’m gratified for the reason that I think my life can be seen as
an example to the youth of Australia in proving that any person from any walk of life has the opportunity, if he cares to grasp it.
Now shadows grow longer, and there’s so much more yet to be told
But we’re not getting any younger, so let the part tell the whole
Now the players all wear colours, the circus is in town
And I no longer can go down there, down to that sacred ground
He was more than just a batsman, he’s something like a tide
More than just one man, he was half the bloody side
Fathers took their sons ‘cos fortune used to hide
In the palm of his hands; in the palm of his hands
November 7, 2003, 01:44 AM
That was the link but it is dead now, but luckily I had extracted the entire article on my harddisk that time, so I am cutnpasting it in full as the link is dead.
Ian Chappell was one of the great Ashes captains, regaining the urn in
1974-75 by four Tests to one. Here, he sets out the theory behind his
===== Dogs need not apply=======
Australia's great old legspinner Bill ‘Tiger' O'Reilly used to write that a well-trained collie dog could captain a cricket team.
Bear in mind that Tiger's normally sound judgment was impaired by the fact that most captains are batsmen. Bill was never kindly disposed to willow-wielders, even if they were on his side. He reasoned that at some point they would be an opponent, and that entitled them to be classed as the enemy. While I shared Tiger's implied admiration for
man's best friend, I didn't entirely agree with his pet theory on captaincy.
Certainly a collie dog could arrange a batting order, manipulate the bowling changes and direct fieldsmen. However, they are only a minor part of the tasks confronting a captain. Before night cricket became such a spectacularly successful part of the game, I said that ‘captaincy is not an 11 to six job'. A skipper must be prepared to plant some seeds (by spending time with his players after hours) if he wants to reap rewards on the field and become a respected leader. Once
he acquires that status he'll well on the way to becoming a good captain.
Respect is vital to a captain. He must earn it in three categories: as a player, as a human being and finally as a leader. If a captain achieves those aims and complements them with a good knowledge of the game which he applies with common sense and a dash of daring, and he's endowed with a reasonable share of luck, he's on the way to a rating
of excellent. If he also has very good players around him, then there's no stopping the guy.
However, a good skipper isn't always endowed with a top-class team and
purely judging a captain on results can be misleading. An ordinary team that loses a hard-fought series can be well led, while a very good side that narrowly clinches victory against lesser opponents could be poorly captained. Therefore a good captain is someone who gets the best out of his team. Sri Lanka's Arjuna Ranatunga is an example of a captain who leads an average Test side well.
There are many ways to achieve this end and they vary, usually according to the personality of the captain. Character is an important ingredient in leadership; the man in charge must put his stamp of
authority on the team. The golden rule decrees the captain gets the pat on the back when it goes well and the kick in the backside when it unravels. That being the case, he should be responsible for his
decisions, rather than captain by committee.
Ray Steele, the excellent manager of the 1972 side in England, gave me some good advice early in the tour. He said, ‘Remember this team will be known as Ian Chappell's 1972 Australian team. Your name will always be attached.' This advice confirmed for me that I should captain the side the way I thought best.
Having agreed there are a variety of ways for a skipper to get the best out of a team, there is one sure way: make the cricket interesting. A captain shouldn't fear losing, but he should hate losing. There's a big difference. The former will be a defensive captain, the latter aggressive. Why? Because in the first case the captain will do everything in his power to avoid defeat, including manoeuvring into a position from which he can't lose before he goes for the win. The second type will go flat out for victory from ball one and only opt for the draw when all hope of winning is lost.
If the bulk of the matches played are competitive it will bring out the best in the better players and, after all, they are the ones who generally influence the result. When a spectator says, ‘Boy, that was
boring to watch,' I reply, ‘Well, being out on the field is twice as bad.'
Think about it. The guy in the crowd can leave any time he chooses, but the player is out in the field for the duration and when a Test is grinding to a draw on day three there is nothing more mind-numbing. It's a captain's duty to make the game interesting for his players and
if he does, q.e.d., the spectators will find it worth watching.
A couple of excellent attacking captains in Richie Benaud and South Australian skipper Les Favell had different ways of achieving the same result. Not surprisingly, their methods leant heavily on their primary skill in the game. Richie expected his team to bowl as many overs in a day as possible, working on the theory that the more balls delivered,
the more opportunities to take wickets. Richie was a fine exponent of the art of legspin, and his teams always maintained a good over rate.
Les, on the other hand, demanded that SA make 300 in a (full) day's play. He reasoned that scoring quickly allowed the bowlers more time to take wickets and hence gave the team a better chance of winning. ‘There's a good crowd out there today', I heard Les say on many an
occasion, ‘let's entertain'em.' If we batted first and were 320 for 7 at stumps, ‘Favelli' was as happy as a new parent, but if we were 280 for 2 then look out, he was like an Indian on the warpath.
Because Benaud and Favell weren't asking their team-mates to do anything they weren't prepared to tackle themselves, they quickly earned respect as leaders. The Australian system is a good one as the team is selected first and then the captain is chosen from the XI.
That way the skipper earns his place in the team and automatically has
respect as a player. I don't understand the logic of the English system where they pick the captain first and then add a further 10 names. This can lead to a situation where the skipper isn't good
enough to hold his place as a player, but that drawback is overlooked and he's selected anyway. It's difficult enough to tackle an opponent on level terms, without being virtually one man short.
Under the Australian system the captain already has respect as a player and he needs only to continue playing well to maintain that respect. Also, under this system he's generally a long-serving player when he takes over, which means he's (hopefully) already popular with
his team-mates. This relationship also has to be maintained, albeit on slightly different terms, but it makes me laugh to hear that as a captain, ‘you can't be one of the boys'. A good leader can be one of
the gang when the time is right and yet when he gives an order on the field his players will hop to it if he's respected. That leaves a newly appointed Australian captain, who has played his hand correctly, with one remaining task: to gain respect as a leader.
It's important to remember that respect is not something you ask for, demand, or, unless you're Otis Redding, sing about. It must be earned. Respect can be earned in myriad ways, but once again the best method usually equates with the individual personality.
However, there are some things that must be done to lead a side well.
In addition to making the cricket nteresting, a skipper would be well
advised to inform his teammates exactly what part they are expected to play in the overall plan. I found this best done by talking to the players individually.
On the field, a captain must be proactive rather than react to situations. Like a good snooker player, who is always a couple of shots ahead in his planning, a captain should be at least two overs in
front of the game. Wherever possible a captain should make things happen, rather than sit back and wait for the opposition to make mistakes, particularly when the match is in its formative stage. Treat it like a boxing contest: you can shadow-box for the first few rounds,
sizing up your opponent, or you can walk forward, land a big punch and see what effect it has on the opposition. I prefer the cricketing equivalent of the latter method.
A good captain must be observant and have a good memory. Listen, watch
and file things away. You never know when they might bring about the
downfall of an opponent. A skipper can also help himself if he remains
outwardly calm on the field at all times. There may well be moments when your guts are churning as the tension bites, but by maintaining composure, a captain helps keep his team focused on their task rather than worrying about the consequences if it all unravels. To help bring about a calmness on the field I preferred to create an atmosphere where the players feel comfortable coming to me with suggestions, rather than me seeking their advice. Usually a captain is only ooking for help if the team is in trouble. In that situation I reasoned that
asking for suggestions would entitle a player to think, ‘If the captain is unsure of what to do, then we're in deep trouble.'
Remember, 11 heads are better than one – you never know where the next
good idea will come from. Fast bowler Jeff ‘Bomber' Hammond came to me in his debut Test and said, ‘I think I can bounce Kalli ( Alvin Kallicharran) out.'
I replied, ‘Jeez, Bomber, Kalli's a good hooker and the Sabina Park pitch is pretty flat.' After a short discussion, I told Jeff he had two bouncers and if they didn't work we'd go back to the original plan. Hammond's first Test wicket reads: Kallicharran caught Marsh bowled Hammond 50. Bomber's first bouncer was well directed and Kalli gloved it.
A captain must get to know his players; find out which ones react well to a pat on the back and which ones respond to a kick up the backside. Hence the need to spend time with the players after hours. A captain demands 100 per cent from his players when they're out on the field,
therefore he should return the compliment when it comes to the players' off-field needs. This can result in discussions on cricket technique, personal problems or even financial hassles.
As captain, a lot of my clashes with the ACB in the 1970s stemmed from
the belief among the players that we were grossly underpaid. When someone like Dennis Lillee, who gave me verything he had on the field, fervently believes he's underpaid, it's important as captain to take a strong stand with the administrators. If I had only made a
token effort in that situation I could never have looked Dennis in the eye again and asked for his best as a bowler.
As a captain you must be prepared for the players to put you to the test. There is the marvellous story of practical joker Bill Lawry attaching Richie Benaud's favourite Italian shoes to the wooden
dressing-room floor with 10cm-long roofing nails. I know Richie wouldn't have got angry, but I bet he got even.
A captain shouldn't expect an invitation to every player's birthday party. It's not a popularity contest
At the end of my first (and probably last) speech to the players, at the commencement of the England tour in 1972, I said, ‘If you have a problem don't be frightened to come and see me. My door is always open.' I then looked down to see Doug Walters with a big grin on his
face, lighting up another fag. I had to adjust my statement to, ‘My door is open until 3am and after that I'd like to get some sleep.'
Players like to know their captain is human, has a sense of humour. That's why I think it's important to be one of the boys when the moment is right and be confident enough of your leadership qualities to know that the players will respect you when it's time to get down
One certain way to gain the players' respect on the field is to ensure that the game is played in a manner that is hard but fair. Any captain who encourages or condones cheating on the field will quickly lose the respect of the bulk of his team-mates and those whose confidence he
retains won't be worth having.
A captain shouldn't expect an invitation to every player's birthday party or wedding reception; it's not a popularity contest, it's about being respected. Good captaincy is about leadership. Most players want to be led, so if you're appointed captain, lead. That's why a collie dog wouldn't make a top-class cricket captain – they're always the one
attached to the lead.
Extracted from The Oxford Companion to Australian Cricket
November 8, 2003, 12:19 AM
All stories taken from
The ball that hit Oldfield started verything off. Not a recognised
batsman, Oldfield had reached 40 with a leg glance off Larwood that went
for 4, so Larwood dropped the next one short. Attempting to hook it,
Oldfield mistimed it and was struck on the right side of the temple. All
hell broke loose. Larwood, frightened that the injury might be serious,
ran up to the crumpled figure. 'I'm sorry, Bertie,' he said. The plucky
little wicket-keeper tried to collect himself and mumbled: 'It's not
your fault, Harold.' An X-ray later revealed that Oldfield had suffered
a fractured skull.
The crowd's anger exploded. 'Go home, you Pommie bastards!' they yelled
as Woodfull assisted Oldfield from the field. The match continued amid a
storm of barracking and abuse.
At the end of the day's play, police protection was offered to Larwood
but big Bill Voce told them: 'Don't worry, we'll look after him.' '
'On the last day but one of the Test(Adelaide Test of Bodyline series)
, Larwood received a telegram from Archie Jackson as he lay dying from a
chest complaint in a Brisbane private hospital: 'Congratulations -
magnificent bowling. Good luck - all matches, Archie Jackson.' This was
the same Archie Jackson, acknowledged in Australia as the greatest
master batsman since Trumper, who had taken a bruising and stood up to
Harold's bowling on a rain-affected pitch at the Oval in 1930.
'The Sydney Cricket Ground was packed to capacity for the last Test and
after nearly two days in the field England finally dismissed Australia
on a fast wicket. Though Larwood had sweated to take 4 for 98 off 32
overs Jardine asked him to bat as night watchman. 'This isn't fair,'
Jardine insisted and the fast bowler went out to bat (pictured right) in
a temper, survived until the next day, then batted on spleen, attacking
the bowling with gusto. Fast bowler Bull Alexander kept bumping them
down at him while the 'Hill' egged him on: 'Knock his bloody head off,
Bull!' One ball grazed his nose and when a fielder remarked that it was
a close one, Larwood casually replied: 'Not really, I had time to count
After scoring 98, including a 6, a 5 and nine 4's, the spectators,
including all of the 'Hill', stood and cheered him off. The Australians
may be good barrackers but they do appreciate good cricket. Larwood
later learned that Jardine wanted him to bat early in order to give him
a good rest before bowling. He just didn't explain it to Harold.
'I'll tell you about that 'Silent Killer' nickname I gave him. I used to
field at cover point and as Loll came up on that smooth, carpet-slipper
run of his, and I moved in to the batsmen I used to listen hard - to
find out what kind of delivery he was going to bowl. If I could hear his
feet tip-tapping over the turf I knew he would be well within himself -
he would still be quick, mind.
But when I couldn't hear him running up I used to look at the batsman
and think: 'You're a split second away from trouble, son,' because I
knew that Loll was coming in on his toes and he was going to let slip
the fastest he'd got.'
Joe Hardstaff Jnr. - Notts. and England
When Leicester take the field against Notts, Harry Smith likes the look
of the wicket and tells his skipper: 'S-s-skipper, I think I'll
b-b-bounce one or two.' Harry had a bit of a stutter. 'Wait a minute,'
says the captain, 'they've got Larwood and Voce.'
'I'll just b-b-bounce one or two,' says Harry. So he bounces one or two
and Notts don't like it. Before the end of the day, Leicester go in to
bat and Larwood and Voce bowl them over like tin soldiers. Harry soon
finds himself at the wicket. Larwood and Voce go for him and he's never
seen so many balls bouncing around his ears. Suddenly he gets a touch
and Sam Staples catches him at second slip. Harry takes off his gloves
and walks. 'Wait a minute,' says Sam, 'it was a bump ball. I didn't
'Yes, you b-b-loody-well did,' says Harry, and he's back in the pavilion
before you can say Jack Robinson.
"At the age of 17, I was promoted to the village's first team. Bowling
in sandshoes because I didn't own a pair of boots, I sent down 20 overs
during the match, even though I'd worked down the mine all the previous
'I remember the game as if it were last week. After a few overs my nose began to bleed. Team mates, men they were , urged me to leave the field. I refused and kept on bowling. Down the mine I reamed of cricket; I bowled imaginery balls in the dark; I sent the stumps spinning and heard them rattling in the tunnels. No mishap was going to stop me from bowling in the real game, especially this one.'
'My nose bled worse than ever, spattering my shirt. I was again advised
to go off but I continued to bowl. Then a ball caught the middle stump. My next delivery scattered the incoming batsman's wicket. Although feeling a bit weak by now I got ready for one more, and hit the off stump. It was my first hat-trick.'
'Cricket was my reason for living.'
To read tributes, see photos click the official site of Larwood
November 12, 2003, 09:44 PM
On Victor Trumper, one of the Greatest bat in Golden Age of Cricket. For a intro for those who havent heard about him (if at all any ie) click
Acknowledged universally as international cricket's consummate batting genius, Victor Thomas Trumper (1877-1915) also was the most revered Australian player of his time.
He was in a class of his own for athletic artistry, strokemaking improvisation and brilliant aggression. Those who played with or against Trumper, and the observers who recorded his triumphs, exhausted the supply of adjectives in attempting to convey convincing evidence of the great man's mastery.
First read the above peice from the above link, then please read this below, one of the greatest prose ever in cricketing literature, written by that leg spinner and tremendous character ARTHUR MAILEY, the Aussie Test Leg spinner.
==== THis piece was typed by Sadiq yusuf in rsc=======
----Read n Enjoy!-----------
It is difficult to realize that a relatively minor event in one's life can still remain the most important through the years. I was chosen to play for Redfern against Paddington - and Paddington was Victor
Trumper's club. This was unbelievable, fantastic. It could never happen -
something was sure to go wrong. A war - an earthquake - Trumper might fall
sick. A million things could crop up in the two or three days before the match.
I sat on my bed and looked at Trumper's picture still pinned on the canvas wall. It seemed to be breathing with the movement of the draught between the skirting. I glanced at his bat standing in a corner of the room, then back at the gently moving picture. I just couldn't believe that this, to me, ethereal and godlike figure could step off the wall,
pick up that bat and say quietly, 'Two legs, please, umpire', in my presence.
My family, usually undemonstrative and self-possessed, found it difficult to maintain that reserve which, strange as it may seem, was characteristic of my father's Northern Irish heritage.
'H'm,' said Father, 'Playing against Trumper on Saturday. By jove, you'll cop Old Harry if you're put on to bowl at him.'
'Why should he?' protested Mother. 'You never know what you can do till you try.'
I had nothing to say. I was little oncerned with what should happen to me in the match. What worried me was that something would happen to Trumper which would prevent his playing.
Although at this time I had never seen Trumper play, on occasions I trudged from Waterloo across the Sandhills to the Sydney cricket ground and waited at the gate to watch the players coming out. Once I had climbed n a tram and actually sat opposite my hero for three stops. I would have gone further but having no money I did not want to take the chance of being kicked in the pants by the conductor. Even so I had been taken half
a mile out of my way.
In my wildest dreams I never thought I would ever speak to Trumper let alone play against him. I am fairly phlegmatic by nature but between the period of my selection and the match I must have behaved like a half-wit. Right up to my first Test match I always washed and pressed my own flannels, but before this match I pressed them not once but several times. On the Saturday I was up with the sparrows and looking anxiously at the sky. It was a lovely morning but it still might rain. Come to that, lots
of things could happen in ten hours - there was still a chance that Vic could be taken ill or knocked down by a tram or twist his ankle or break his arm....
My thoughts were interrupted by a vigorous thumping on the back gate. I looked out of the washhouse-bathroom- woodshed-workshop window and saw that it was the milkman who was kicking up the row.
'Hey !' he roared - 'yer didn't leave the can out. I can't wait around here all day. A man should pour it in the garbage tin - that'd make yer wake up a bit!'
On that morning I wouldn't have cared whether he poured the milk in the garbage tin or all over me. I didn't belong to this world. I was playing against the great Victor Trumper. Let the milk take care of itself. I kept looking at the clock. It might be slow - or it might have
stopped! I'd better whip down to the Zetland Hotel and check up. Anyhow, I
mightn't bowl at Trumper after all. He might get out before I come on. Or I mightn't get a bowl at all- after all, I can't put myself on. Wonder what Trumper's doing this very minute ... bet he's not ironing his flannels. Sends them to the laundry, I suppose. He's probably got two sets of flannels, anyway. Perhaps he's at breakfast, perhaps he's eating bacon
and eggs. Wonder if he knows I'm playing against him? Don't suppose he's
ever heard of me. Wouldn't worry him anyhow, I shouldn't think. Gosh,
what a long morning! Think I'll dig the garden. No, I won't - I want to keep fresh. Think I'll lie down for a bit . . . better not, I might fall off to sleep and be late.
The morning did not pass in this way. Time just stopped. I couldn't bring myself to doing anything in particular and yet I couldn't settle to the thought of not doing anything. I was bowling to Trumper and I was not bowling to Trumper. I was I early and I was late. In fact, I think I was slightly out of my mind.
I didn't get to the ground so very early after all, mainly because it would have been impossible for me to wait around so near the scene of Trumper's appearance - and yet for it to - rain or news to come that something had prevented Vic from playing.
'Is he here?' I asked Harry Goddard, our captain, the moment I did arrive at the ground. 'Is who here?' he countered.
My answer was probably a scornful and disgusted look. I remember that it occurred to me to say, 'Julius Caesar, of course' but that I stopped myself being cheeky because this was one occasion when I couldn't afford to be.
Paddington won the toss and took first knock. When Trumper walked out to bat, Harry Goddard said to me: 'I'd better keep you away from Vic. If he starts on you he'll probably knock you out of grade cricket.'
I was inclined to agree with him yet at the same time I didn't fear punishment from the master batsman. All I wanted to do was just to bowl at him. I suppose in their time other ambitious youngsters have wanted to play on the same stage with Henry Irving, or sing with Caruso or
Melba, to fight with Napoleon or sail the seas with Columbus. It wasn't conquest I desired. I simply wanted to meet my hero on common ground.
Vic, beautifully clad in creamy, loose-fitting but well-tailored flannels, left the pavilion with his bat tucked under his left arm and in the act of donning his gloves. Although slightly pigeon-toed in the left
foot he had a springy athletic walk and a tendency to shrug his shoulders every few minutes, a habit I understand he developed through trying to loosen his shirt off his shoulders when it became soaked with sweat during his innings.
Arriving at the wicket, he bent his bat handle almost to a right angle, walked up the pitch, prodded about six yards of it, returned to the batting crease and asked the umpire for 'two legs', took a guick glance in the direction of fine leg, shrugged his shoulders again and took up his stance.
I was called to bowl sooner than I had expected. I suspect now that Harry Goddard changed his mind and decided to put me out of my misery early in the piece.
Did I ever bowl that first ball? I don't remember. My head was ina whirl, I really think I fainted and the secret of the mythical first ball has been kept over all these years to save me embarrassment. If the ball was sent down it must have been hit for six, or at least four, because I was awakened from my trance by the thunderous booming Yabba who
roared: 'O for a strong arm and walking stick!' I do remember the next ball. It was, I imagined, a perfect leg-break. When it left my hand it was singing sweetly like a humming top. The rajectory couldn't have been more graceful if designed by a professor
of ballistics. The tremendous leg-spin caused the ball to swing and curve
from the off and move in line with the middle and leg stump. Had I bowled
this particular ball at any other batsman I would have turned my back early in its flight and listened for the death rattle. However, consistent with my idolization of the champion, I watched his every movment.
He stood poised like a panther ready to spring. Down came his left foot to within a foot of the ball. The bat, swung from well over his shoulders, met the ball just as it fizzed off the pitch, and the next
sound I heard was a rapping on the offside fence. It was the most beautiful shot I have ever seen.
The immortal Yabba made some attempt to say something but his voice faded away to the soft gurgle one hears at the end of a kookaburra's song. The only person on the ground who didn't watch the course of the ball was Victor Trumper. The moment he played it he turned his back, smacked down a few tufts of grass and prodded his way back to the batting crease. He knew where the ball was going.
What were my reactions?
Well, I never expected that ball or any other ball I could produce to get Trumper's wicket. But that being the best ball a bowler of my type could spin into being, I thought that at least Vic might have been forced to play a defensive shot, particularly as I was almost a stranger too and it might have been to his advantage to use discretion rather than valour.
After I had bowled one or two other reasonably good balls without success I found fresh hope in the thought that Trumper had found Bosanquet, creator of the 'wrong 'un' or 'bosie' (which I think a better name), rather puzzling. This left me with one shot in my locker, but if I
didn't use it quickly I would be taken out of the firing line. I decided, therefore, to try this most undisciplined and cantankerous creation of the great B.J. Bosanquet - not, as many may think, as a compliment to the inventor but as the gallant farewell, so to speak, of a warrior who refused to surrender until all his ammunition was spent.
Again fortune was on my side in that I bowled the ball I had often dreamed of bowling. As with the leg-break, it had sufficient spin to curve in the air and break considerably after making contact with the pitch. If anything it might have had a little more top-spin, which would cause it todrop rather suddenly. The sensitivity of a spinning ball against a breeze is governed by the amount of spin imparted, and if a ball bowled at a
certain pace drops on a certain spot, one bowled with identical pace but with more top-spin should drop eighteen inches or two feet shorter.
For this reason I thought the difference in the trajectory and ultimate landing of the ball might provide a measure of uncertainty in Trumper's mind. Whilst the ball was in flight this reasoning appeared to be vindicated by Trumper's initial movement. As at the beginning of my
over he sprang in to attack but did not realize that the ball, being anoff-break, was floating away from him and dropping a little quicker.
Instead of his left foot being close to the ball it was a foot out of line. In a split second Vic grasped this and tried to make up the deficiency with a wider swing of the bat. It was then I could see apassage-way to the stumps with our 'keeper, Con Hayes, ready to claim his
victim. Vic's bat came through like a flash but the ball passed between his bat and legs, missed the leg stump by a fraction, and the bails were whipped off with the great batsman at least two yards out of his ground.
Vic had made no attempt to scramble back. He knew the ball had beaten him and was prepared to pay the penalty, and although he had little chance of regaining his crease on this occasion I think he would have acted similarly if his back foot had been only an inch from safety.
As he walked past me he smiled, patted the back of his bat and said, 'It was too good for me.'
There was no triumph in me as I watched the receding figure. I felt like a boy who had killed a dove.
10 for 66 and All That
November 27, 2003, 02:33 PM
Oracle has written a brilliant article about how fielding can lift a side which is lacking in batting and bowling. To see the best example of this theory put into practice, one has to travel back 50 years.
The standing of Australia of 1952/3 was not unlike that of the current Australian team. All the players of the Bradman's team - except the Don himself - were there. They had won 25 out of the 32 tests since 1945. Put to test against them was South Africa. None of Dudley Nourse, Alan Melville, Bruce Mitchell, Eric and Athol Rowan, Tufty Mann or Cuan McCarthy - all good to great players who had served South Africa before and after the war - were to able to make the tour. Indeed, there was major campaign lead by the Louis Duffus, the most eminent among South African cricket writers, that the tour should be cancelled to avoid further defeats and humiliations.
It was well justified. Australia had butchered a much stronger South African team in 1949-50 by four tests to nothing. The last test was lost by an innings and 259 runs, the biggest in SAF history. In the absence of all the major players Jack Cheetham was chosen to lead the team. An slow, stodgy batsman, he had averaged 18.76 in his 9 tests. Going into the series, the career averages of the other players, some of whom were to destined to become great, read thus : In batting McGlew had made 50 runs at 12.50, Waite 152 at 21.71, Endean 38 at 19.00, McLean 138 at 27.60 and Watkins 87 at 14.50. As for bowling Watkins had 3 wkts at 48.00, Melle 12 at 26.66 and Tayfield 17 at 42.70.
This was the team that was to face the Australians among whom were Arthur Morris, Neil Harvey, Colin Macdonald, Lindsay Hassett, Miller, Lindwall, Benaud, Bill Johnston and Ian Johnson.
Cheetham conceded quite early that it would be pointless to try and match the Australians in batting or bowling. So with the aid of his manager Ken Viljoen, he did an informal study on how often were test hundreds chanceless and the answer he received was 'precious few'. That was to be his solution to the Australian question. Cheetham drove his team to intense fielding practices, which started from South Africa and continued through the voyage to Australia. During the long trip, he preached to the diffident players like Tayfield, how good they really were.
South African team was completely written in the early stages of the tour. They lost to New South Wales, and the intense practice actually seemed to increase the number of catches dropped. Everything was going according to the script when Australia won the first test at Sydney.
Then the efforts began to pay off. If there is any single moment which could be pointed out as the beginning of the end for that great Australian team, it would be the second day of the Melbourne test. South Africa made 227 and Australian openers had made nearly 100 when Arthur Morris drove Tayfield into the body of Cheetham at silly point from where it bounced over the head of the bowler. Tayfield turned around, raced after the ball and caught it with a full length drive.
This was made to look like a commonplace thing when Russell Endean caught Miller at the long on boundary. RS Whittington has written how he was looking into the crowd to see someone among them catch the ball. For a few moments nothing happened. Then he saw Endean stand with his back to the rails like a 'miniature Statue of Liberty'. Miller remembered that catch in a recent memoir :
"Endean...what a catch that was, one-handed and jumping up right next to the picket fence. When I hit it, I knew it was going over. How Endean kept his feet I'll never know as in those days the ground sloped down in the last five or six yards. I thought he was going to go !@#$ over @#$. It was just the mightiest catch. I still remember it clearly all these years on."
On that fateful day, four 'impossible' catches were held. Australia was held to 243. Then, maybe not as a coincidence, Endean who had been considered as another ordinary batsman, played the innings of his life. His 162* left Australia to chase 373. Tayfield took 7 wickets and Australia was brought down by 82 runs.
Australia went ahead winning the third test and it came down to final test at Melbourne. Harvey's 205 helped Australia to 520 and South Africa conceded a lead of 85 and were then set 295 to win. When Roy Maclean went out to bat at 191 for 4, Cheetham told him, 'score quickly, but don't take any risks'. 'Don ?t worry Pop, I ?ll get ?em for you', came the reply. Maclean was dropped first ball, then scored 76 in 80 minutes and the series was tied.
The historical significance of this series is immense. This was the first series the Australia had failed to win in 14 years. The next year, they lost the Ashes for the first time in 19 years. South Africa had always been a sort of Zimbabwe till this point. Out of this series they were never underdogs again. Following through from here, Cheetham's team defeated New Zealand 4-0 and came back from two tests down to tie England 2-2 only to lose the last test and series in 1955.
The basic idea of this was an article on Cheetham written by AA Thomson read a long time ago. Couldn't find anything useful in the web except one on Roy Maclean here : http://www.thesharks.co.za/shark_of_past/roymclean.htm and a mention of the final test in rsc : http://groups.google.com/groups?q=jack+cheetham++group:rec.sport.cricket&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&selm=7dsb2j%2444%241%40nnrp1.dejanews.com&rnum=8
Edit : Found a fine article here
[Edited on 28-11-2003 by Tintin]
Edited on, October 11, 2004, 6:46 AM GMT, by Tintin.
November 27, 2003, 02:45 PM
Simply remarkable! Thanks Tintin.
October 11, 2004, 02:01 AM
From Cricket Mad , by Michael Parkinson. A delightful book of cricketing anecdotes from his time in the English league.
Cec Pepper was the scourge of Lancashire league umpires, blasting the meek with his belligerant appeals, making the lay preachers blush with his vivid langauge. The umpire who faced up to him had to be a special kind of human being and George Long was such a man.
George was standing one day at the end where Pepper was bowling, when Pepper made one of his raucous Austarlian appeals for lbw, which was answered by a quiet notout. Whereupon Pepper gave vent to a histrionic stream of invective, throwing in all the stock-in-trade props - spectacles, white stick, guide dog, illegitimacy, bloody minded Englishness and four letter words - all of which George completely ignored.
The same thing happened after the next ball and yet again the following one, after which George called 'Over' and walked to his squareleg position, followed by Pepper - obviously disturbed by the lack of reaction from the umpire.
'I suppose you're going to report all this bad language to the league ?', said Pepper.
'No', replied George. 'Ah likes a chap as speaks his mind'.
Pepper was obviously delighted. 'So do I', he said smilingly, 'and I must say it is a refreshing change to meet an umpire like you. I'm glad that we understand each other'.
'Aye', said George.
The first ball of the next over again hit the batsman's pad, whereupon Cec whirled round to George, arms outstretched and did his usual Red Indian war whoop. His Howzat was head all around the ground.
'Notout, you fat Australian bastard', said George quietly.
Edited on, October 11, 2004, 7:10 AM GMT, by Tintin.
October 11, 2004, 12:53 PM
Thanks for this.
October 25, 2007, 11:16 PM
Another story from the Yorkshire league, from Michael Parkinson's Cricket Mad (1969) :
All this changed the year the winning team was found to contain two Browns, four Smiths and five Jones. Subsequent inquiry revealed they were all professionals from the Lancashire leaqgue with names like Leatherbarrow and Strongitharm. After that the rules were changed and the teams had to declare te correct names of the players before the competition started.
But there were ways around that. Once we arrived to play a team in the semifinal and the opposing captain popped into our dressing room just before the game started to say that he was a man short. 'Can I borrow a substitute, Fred", he asked our skipper. 'No', he replied, helpfully.
The opposing skipper then asked if he could pick a substitute from the spectators, and Fred agreed only if he had the right to veto. They set off the ground together looking for likely prospects. Every time the opposing captain indicated a husky young lad, Fred, who was enjoying himself immensely, would shake his head and point to an old man in a wheel chair. They had made a complete circuit of the ground and reached the pavilion again when the opposing captain pointed to a hunched, wizened figure sitting on the grass. An Indian wearing a bus conductor's uniform. Our captain thought this was a huge joke.
'They've got Gunga Din playing for them', he told us. Someone reminded him cautiously that Indians could play cricket. 'But he's a bus conductor, not Ranjitsinhji', he replied. He received the first inkling of the way he had been deceived when we batted. After a couple of overs the little Indian was asked to bowl which was a bit strange considering they had found him on the ground only ten minutes earlier. We had our suspicions confirmed in the Indian's first over which contained five leg breaks and a googly of a quality normally reserved for test batsmen. From that moment we knew our captain had been tricked and that we were doomed. The Indian took eight wickets for less than 20 and we lost the match.
Our skipper was fit for nothing after the game. He wasn't angry, just disappointed that he had not been the first to invent such a stunning piece of trickery. He just sat in the bar drowning pints of bitter and staring moodily at the floor. But his worst moment was yet to come. The little Indian, back in his bus conductor's uniform, was sitting across the room with the winning team when someone asked him, just to rub it in, who was the best batsman he had bowled to. Everyone on our side stopped talking and listened because we still did not know who or what he was.
Our skipper burped wittily and said sarcastically, 'Bradman'. 'No', said the Indian. 'I think Len Hutton was the best'. It was too much for the skipper. He gave all his gear away and swore he would never play again. We never did find out who that little Indian was.
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