Bradman bowled over by Wisden recognition

Published: Monday, March 6, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney: Sir Donald Bradman, in a rare public statement, said he was humbled to learn he had been chosen as Wisden's cricketer of the 20th century.

The semi-reclusive Australian, whose Test batting average of 99.94 has stood unchallenged since he retired in 1948, released a brief statement on Thursday to show his appreciation of the award.

''I am very honoured to be recognised by Wisden in this way,'' Bradman said.

Bradman, who lives alone in his suburban Adelaide home, said he was just as thrilled to learn England's Sir Jack Hobbs had also been selected as one of the top five players.

''I am very pleased that Jack Hobbs was also chosen, as he was one of my boyhood heroes,'' Bradman said.

Bradman was the clear winner of Wisden's poll to decide the top five players of the last century, and the only player chosen by each of the 100 panelists.

West Indies captain Sir Garfield Sobers finished second with 90 votes ahead of Hobbs, 30, Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne, 27, and Sir Vivian Richards, former West Indies captain, with 25.

Warne was the only specialist bowler as well as the only current player to make the top five.

Like Bradman, Warne, who broke Dennis Lillee's Australian Test record of 355 wickets against New Zealand a fortnight ago, said he was thrilled by the recognition.

''It's a huge honour to be included while I'm still playing and it's hard for me to wrap my head around it,'' Warne said.

''I'm very shocked because I didn't know about it. Even if I had known about it, I wouldn't have expected to be chosen.''

Unlike the other four greats, all knighted by the British monarch on the nomination of their governments, Warne is unlikely to become Sir Shane - Australia and its state governments no longer nominate people for British honours.

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