Sir Donald Bradman is reckoned as the world’s greatest batsman. He achieved many astounding cricket records in a short time. He used to play before the commercialisation of the game. The masterly batsman, who excelled in defending and attacking, started his international career in an aura which has observed the deadly Second World War. Bradman is arguably the greatest cricketer of all time and the finest person on the field. He made his debut in 1928 and retired in 1948. His career spanned for 20 years but more than six years of his illustrated career was ruined by the war.
However, his class was not deterred by the war as he achieved what he could in a short time which is still unbreakable. He was born before the innovation of limited over cricket. So in Test cricket, he ended his cricket career with an average of 99.94. In an aura when cricket was yet to gain popularity Bradman played 52 matches and scored 6996 runs.
He and his team used to tour England on a ship so it was a costly affair and time consuming. But his passion for the game helped him to achieve many records even after the rigorous process of the journey and lack of modern facilities.
People put Sachin Tendulkar behind him as the greatest of modern era cricket. But still, nobody dares to surpass Bradman’s record and batting technique. Yes, Bradman had seen his mirror image in Sachin Tendulkar, but the question is that if Bradman born in a different aura what could happen. He could have played the limited over cricket. There is no question that if he was born in a different time of the clock he would have set the benchmark for batting which is rather untouchable.
His strike rate is stills a disputed issue because pre-war statistics of cricket are very hard to find out. In 52 matches he scored 29 hundred while Sachin took 200 matches to score 50 hundred. So just imagine what could have happened if Bradman played the game in the modern era.
In international cricket, the record of fastest hundred in terms of time belongs to Bradman’s predecessor Jack Gregory who scored a hundred in 70 minutes. Gregory achieved the mark in 1921-1922 South Africa tour at Johannesburg.
In 1931, three years after Bradman’s international debut, Bradman, who had already earned fame for his ability to score runs, played a local match for Blackheath, a place which is 120 km from Sydney, against Lithgow. Bill Black, a Lithgow off-spinner, had bowled Bradman earlier that year. The ball was mounted and given to him. However, Bradman had a very short memory so he asked the wicketkeeper, “What sort of bowler is this fellow?” The wicketkeeper replied, “Don’t you remember this bloke? He bowled you out a few weeks ago and has been boasting about it ever since.”
Bradman quipped, “Is that so?” Bradman didn’t waste much time talking to the wicketkeeper as his willow gave the rest of the reply. Those days bowlers used to ball eight balls in an over as a result it took Bradman only three overs to complete his hundred. Bradman’s score sheet look like this- 6, 6, 4, 2, 4, 4, 6, 1, 6, 4, 4, 6, 6, 4, 6, 4, 6, 6, 1, 4, 4 and 6.
He scored this hundred in 22 balls and in 18 minutes, the fastest in any form of the game!
After this carnage, Black requested his captain to spare him from bowling, why not, he had conceded 62 runs from two overs. Meanwhile, out of Blackheath’s innings total 357, Bradman had scored 256, an innings that included 29 fours and 14 sixes.