Sir Donald George Bradman

Sir Donald George Bradman
Sir Donald George Bradman, AC (27 August 1908 – 25 February 2001), often referred to as "The Don", was an Australian cricketer, widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman of all time. Bradman's career Test batting average of 99.94 has been claimed to be statistically the greatest achievement in any major sport.

The story that the young Bradman practiced alone with a cricket stump and a golf ball is part of Australian folklore. Bradman's meteoric rise from bush cricket to the Australian Test team took just over two years. Before his 22nd birthday, he had set many records for high scoring, some of which still stand, and became Australia's sporting idol at the height of the Great Depression.
Without him, the game of cricket would not have been the same. No one came closer to sporting perfection over a sustained period than Sir Donald Bradman. A century is the ultimate for any batsman and Sir Donald's lifetime Test cricket average of 99.94 still stands as testament to his impact on the game.

Childhood: Bradman was born on 27th August 1908, Adam Street, Cootamundra, New South Wales, Australia. He was the youngest of five children. After his first few years in Cootamundra in country NSW, his parents moved the family to Bowral, around 1910, in the Southern Highlands of NSW. He later became known the 'Boy from Bowral' even though he wasn't born there. His schooling was at Bowral intermediate high school.

Family and the beginning: Born in the family of keen cricketers Bradman took instant liking to this game and Young Donald honed his cricketing skills by throwing a golf ball against a small brick wall and hitting it on the rebound with a cricket stump. If anyone has tried this they will realize it is no easy feat. Such was the determination in this young lad, which made him the greatest batsman in the world. He played his first match at age 11 and made 55 and the Oval on which he played is now known as the Bradman Oval. Making his first century at the age of 12 Bradman never looked back. 

Marriage: Don Bradman met his future wife at a very early age Jessica Menzies was a child hood friend of Don Bradman and the two remained close all their lives. So close in fact that in April 1932 they were married in Burwood, Sydney. They had a 65 year long married life but sadly Lady Bradman died in 1997. On her death, Sir Donald said that his wife was the greatest partner he ever had. 

Debut: After moving to Sydney he quickly got into the New South Wales Team and very soon was picked for the National Side and made his debut against England in 1928-29. His first match was not that good where he made only 18 and 1 and was consequently dropped for the second test. He was taken for the third match and that turned out to be the beginning of a remarkable career. He made 79 and 112 runs in that match and was never dropped from the Australian Team again.

Achievements: Bradman took the cricket world by storm as he kept breaking one record after the other. In 1930 on the tour to England he made 334 the highest test score at that time.  Already, therefore, he had in a very short space of time accomplished wonders, but his triumphs were far from being at an end, for in England he left further records behind. In the second innings of his First Test Match in this county, at Trent Bridge, he made 131, following that with 254 at Lord's, 334 at Leeds and, after failing at Manchester, putting together 232 at the Oval. With his big innings at Leeds he beat the record individual score in Test Matches between England and Australia, which had stood since 1903-04 to the credit of R. E. Foster, with 287 at Sydney. Without a not out average of over 139 for the five Test Matches, and in the course of the summer he altogether played eleven three – figure innings.

He scored 452 for New South Wales against Queensland setting the highest first class score and so shaken were the English Team by this champion that they started resorting to unfair means and there started the Bodyline War. That slowed him down a bit but did not stop him from breaking more records. Following his success on his first tour of England, in 1930, Don Donald Bradman was chosen as one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year in the 1931 Almanack. In this magnificent career of his he made a total of 211 centuries, played 80 tests for Australia most of them as captain, made 6996 test runs and had an excellent average of 99.94 which could have been 100 had he made just 4 runs in his last test but unfortunately got out on a duck.
Retirement: He captained Australia in 1948 against England at the age of 40. The Australian Team was invincible at that time and till date is regarded as the Best Australian Team of all times. He finished his career in 1948 and settled in his home in South Australia and became a national selector and cricket administrator and excelled in that role of his as well. He wrote his autobiography titled “ Farewell to Cricket”. On  15th March 1949 Don Bradman became Sir Donald Bradman after the Governor General of Australia knighted him. 

Tribute: Sir Donald died peacefully in his sleep at his Adelaide home on the 25th of February, 2001 at the age of 92. He had been in poor health and was trying to recover from a bout of pneumonia. He was a  national treasure, adored by millions all over the world. The passing of Sir Donald Bradman marked not only the death of a cricketing legend but a spiritual moment in the history of Australia. As a cricketer, the world has known no equal. He was the true symbol of fine sportsmanship, the benchmark that all young cricketers aspired to. His innings may have closed but his legacy will forever live on in the hearts of millions of his fans around the globe.

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