It is Sir Donald Bradman’s 110th birth anniversary today. Google has dedicated a Doodle for him. Remember the guy Walt Disney named Donald Duck after? The Don played cricket for Australia from 1928-1948. He could have played longer had serving in the WWII not caused muscular problems and being diagnosed with fibrosis. He played through it till his career eventually ended.
Bradman’s career Test batting average of 99.94 has been cited as the greatest achievement by any sportsman in any major sport. The Australian government in 2001 declared him as the “greatest Australian ever” in their country’s short modern history, and released postage stamps and coins, and a museum dedicated to his life. He was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009.
To put his achievement into perspective, batting average is the average runs a batsman scores every time he walks out to bat. The next best average after Bradman’s is a list of other legends and they all average in the 60s and 50s, including Indian greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid. His average of nearly a hundred runs/innings is unparalleled. No wonder Walt Disney was disappointed when he got out for a 0 the one time he went to watch him bat in New York.
This is going to be a short post. As the ongoing second test between England and India happens at Lord’s, it was a nice coincidence that I came across this beautiful piece of art from the archives- a movie made in 1950, titled Cricket. Any guesses what it is about?
The movie is shot in and around Lord’s. The description reads-
As England battles it out against Australia at Lord’s cricket ground, skills both on and off the field are focused on, revisiting some of the greats of the sport’s history along the way.
FunFact: The Lord’s cricket ground is on a slope. There is a drop of 2.5 metres (8’2″) from the north end to the south end of the ground. Wikipedia says-
The Lord’s slope is often used to advantage by bowlers in cricket matches at Lord’s. Because of the slope’s angles, seam bowlers from the Pavilion End and swing bowlers from the Nursery End gain an advantage as the natural variation of the slope alters the bounce of the ball when bowling. The gradient of the slope is noted to affect right-handed batsmen more than left-handed batsmen as the ball naturally moves towards left-handed batsmen. Despite the advantages the slope gives to bowlers, some batsmen consistently make high scores when playing at Lord’s.
I happened to come across this amazing interview of Rahul Dravid today, that brought back memories of my teen years. So, today’s cricket post is a #ThrowbackThursday, as the hashtag generation would so aptly put it. If you haven’t watched the video yet, you are missing out. I’m going to leave this here, just in case.
They played alongside and/or against each other since they were both 15-16 years old, and even now, after they’re both long retired, and in their 40s, Dravid cannot stop fanboy-ing over Sachin, it’s so adorable!
An absolute gentleman, that’s who he is. A wonderful human being. A great role model to youngsters. Okay, I’m out of superlatives. My mother gifted me his biography on my 15th birthday, despite being aware of the fact that I am a Sachin Tendulkar fan, because even she knew. Sachin was a freak talent. One of a kind. But Dravid? Rahul Dravid was all about ethics, hard work, dedication, and determination. (Also read:Role Models)
I’ll forever be a Sachin Tendulkar fan, but if I were asked to pick one sportsman as my role model for my career, I’d pick Rahul Dravid.