Thatscricket - News - Bradman rated integrity as greatest characteristic

Published: Monday, February 26, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney: Australia's greatest sporting champion, Sir Donald Bradman, said in his last interview, in 1996, the thing he would most like to be remembered for was integrity. Bradman, then 87, holds by far the greatest batting record of all but said then he had seen many cricketers who had more ability than I had''. Why they didn't make more runs than I did, I don't know,'' he told The Channel Nine television network in an exclusive two-hour interview. Bradman, who captained Australia from the 1936-37 England tour of Australia until he retired in 1948 with an unlikely ever to be matched Test average of 99.94, had a successful business career after he retired to live in Adelaide. He nominated West Indian Brian Lara and India's Sachin Tendulkar as the two best batsmen in the world today, the West Indies' Gary Sobers as undoubtedly the best all-round cricketer I've ever set eyes on'' and Australian leg-spinner Shayne Warne as the best thing that's happened to the game for many years''. The late Harold Larwood, England's Bodyline Bowler of the 1930s, was very good and very fast'', the late Australian leg-spinner Bill O'Reilly was the best Bradman ever faced and England's Frank Typhoon'' Tyson was the fastest he saw. Bradman regarded the record 334 he scored at Leeds in 1930 as technically flawed'' and said the 254 he scored at Lord's was much better. Every ball went exactly where I wanted it to go until the ball that got me out,'' he said. He also recalled the last time he strode to the crease at The Oval in 1948 with the England team and fans singing For he's a jolly good fellow'' he had tears in his eyes as he took strike. His dismissal without score became the most famous duck in cricket history because not only was it so uncharacteristic, but it meant Bradman would retire with an average of just under the magic century. I'm very sorry I made a duck,'' he said. I'd have been glad if I'd made those four extra runs to have an average of 100. I didn't know it at the time and I don't think the Englishmen knew it either. I think if they had known it they may have been generous enough to let me get four.'' But he denied that he got out because of tears in his eyes. Of course that's rubbish. I was certainly emotional, but I wasn't that bad. But I was very sad walking out. I felt I'd let the people down.'' The man whose achievements are still the stuff of legend and who brightened Australian lives through the dark days of the Great Depression enjoyed a marriage to Jessie stretching back more than 60 years. Asked when he fell in love with her, he said: I think that would be the day she came to live with us when I was about 12 years of age. I remember the day very well because I'd been sent by my mother on a mission to buy some groceries and I'd run into the doctor's car and had an accident, had my bike smashed up. When I got home she was there, having just been delivered by her father because she was going to stay with us. That was the day I fell in love with her.'' What would he like best to be remembered for? Integrity'', said Bradman. Copyright AFP 2000Extras:
Bradman: End of a legendary era

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