Sir Donald George Bradman or Don Bradman was an Australian international cricketer who was known to be the greatest batsman of all time. Often referred to as 'The Don', his career Test batting average of 99.94 has been cited as being the greatest achievement by any sportsman in any major sport. He retired from the sport in 1948 and the following year he was appointed Knight Bachelor for his services to the game at the 1949 New Year Honours.
During his youth, Bradman would practice batting incessantly and invented his own solo cricket game by using a cricket stump for a bat, and a golf ball. He developed his batting skills by throwing a golf ball against a curved water tank stand made of brick and hitting the ball with a stump. The curved brick stand meant the ball rebounded at high speed and varying angles which he would attempt to hit. The practice helped in developing his timing and reaction to a high degree. He learned his cricket from his maternal uncles George and Richard Whatman.
Bradman acted as scorer for the local Bowral team, captained by his uncle George Whatman during the 1920–21 season, and in October 1920, when the team was one man short, he filled in and scored 37 and 29 on his debut. As a teenager, he would play Saturday afternoon cricket in the country and quickly proceed to amass huge scores. He became a regular selection for the Bowral team and caught the attention of the Sydney daily press after several outstanding performances.
In 1926 the New South Wales Cricket Association, which was incidentally looking for bowlers, asked Bradman to play in trial games keeping in mind his big scores for Bowral. He was subsequently chosen for the 'Country Week' tournaments at both cricket and tennis, to be played during separate weeks. Upon being given an ultimatum by his boss that he can have only one week away from work, he chose cricket. His performances during Country Week resulted in an invitation to play grade cricket in Sydney for St George in the 1926–27 season.
Bradman made his first-class debut in 1927 at the Adelaide Oval at the age of 19 after he was chosen to replace an unfit Archie Jackson in the NSW team. He secured a hundred on debut with an innings of 118. In the final match of the season, he made his first century at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), against the Sheffield Shield champions Victoria. But despite his outstanding performance, he was not chosen for the Australian second team to tour New Zealand.
TEST CRICKET CAREER:
Bradman decided that his chances for Test selection would be improved by moving to Sydney for the 1928–29 season when England were to tour in defence of the Ashes. In the first match of the Sheffield Shield season, he scored a century in each innings against Queensland. He followed this with scores of 87 and 132 not out against the England touring team and was rewarded with selection for the first Test, to be played at Brisbane.
Nicknamed 'Braddles' by his teammates, Bradman found his initial Test a harsh learning experience, and following his poor performance in the first test, he was dropped to 12th man for the second. Recalled for the Third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Bradman scored 79 and 112 to become the youngest player to make a Test century, although the match was still lost. He scored two centuries in the remaining rubbers to establish his place in the Australian team.
Bradman still holds numerous significant records for Test match cricket, among them the highest career batting average, highest series batting average, highest Test batting rating, highest score by a number 7 batsman, most runs against one opponent, most runs in one series, most runs in one day's play, most double centuries, first batsman in Test history to score 2 triple centuries, first and only batsman to have remained unbeaten on 299 in a Test innings, first batsman to score a Test triple century (304) at number 5 position, and many others.
Bodyline, also known as fast leg theory bowling, was a cricketing tactic devised by the English cricket team for their 1932–33 Ashes tour of Australia, specifically to combat the extraordinary batting skill of Australia's Don Bradman. A bodyline delivery was one where the cricket ball was bowled at the body of the batsman, in the hope that when he defended himself with his bat, a resulting deflection could be caught by one of several fielders standing close by.
The tactic was considered by critics to be intimidating and physically threatening, to the point of being unfair in a game that was supposed to uphold gentlemanly traditions.
Donald George Bradman was born on August 27, 1908 at Cootamundra, New South Wales to George Bradman and Emily Whatman, and he had one brother and three sisters. He was of English heritage on both sides of his family.