Bradman wanted batsmen to dominate in Cricket

Published: Monday, August 18, 2008, 14:55 [IST]
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Sydney: Australia has discovered confidential letters written by Sir Donald Bradman during his days as one of the game's most influential administrators.

The letters reveal the influence, lateral thinking and common sense that characterised Bradman, but also his deep conservatism.
A sample of them, most written to the then Australian Cricket Board chairman Bob Parish, shows The Don was at the centre of some of the hottest issues that would determine the destiny of world cricket.

The letters reveal Bradman was "despondent" at bans on cricket tours to South Africa during the apartheid era but that he saw them as a political reality over which cricket authorities could have little influence.

His famous frugality is also evident in a passage from one letter in which he says he regards $20 a day as "ample remuneration" for players.

The letter was written shortly before his now infamous fight with the then Test captain Ian Chappell over player payments.

His thoughts in this letter demonstrate his thinking that players should play for the love of the game rather than financial gain.

He also argues that payments for Test cricket should not be overshadowed by one-day international payments.

Bradman took a behind-the-scenes position during the breakaway World Series Cricket dramas, but was on a special committee to deal with the threat to board control.

In a letter dated March 21, 1978, he summed up the dangers of seeking government interference in television rights and suggested an avenue of attack to combat Kerry Packer's media promotions, which he described as "propaganda".

He also wrote frankly about the continuing apartheid dramas, and also passed comment about the late David Hookes and his involvement with World Series.

Bradman was responsible for introducing a national player code of behaviour, following a series of incidents culminating in an indiscretion by Rod Marsh.

He methodically explained in a letter what was wrong with the system, how it could be fixed, and why fixed penalties were unacceptable.

Bradman, the greatest batsman who ever played, was aware the public wanted entertainment, and, equally, that bowlers should not dominate.

One letter suggests that a batsman should be given out leg before wicket if he does not play at the ball – even if it is pitched outside leg stump. His over-riding thinking was that such a law change would be an encouragement to leg spinners.


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