The One Day International game of cricket could very well owe its origin to the greatest Test batsmen that lived - Sir Don Bradman. According to former Australian captain Bill Lawry, on Jan 5, 1971, Bradman came up with the idea of holding a limited overs one-day encounter between the visiting English side and the hosts after rain had washed out the Test slated to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
"My memory is Sir Donald came up with the idea to make some money. He was good at that," Lawry quipped. It was an initiative to make a little money especially since the MCG had been deprived of his cash-cow Test.
"They got around 46,000 which raised over USD 30,000, good money back then," Lawry said. I don't think there were any pre-sold tickets, just people walking up on the day after the Test match was abandoned on day three (January 2).
Thus, the limited overs format which had been played in domestic circles for 8 years prior in England finally began its international sojourn. However, both sides were lost at sea when it came to instantly adpating to the format.
"We didn't know how to play a one-day game. In that game against England we went after them like a Test match with three slips and a gully because that was what you did. There were no field restrictions and we thought it was just a matter of really getting on with it."
Lawry added that as the game evolved through the 1970s, the teams playing it came up with strategies to pace their innings.
"We later worked out you had to construct a total otherwise you just ended up getting in trouble," the veteran told a leading Australian paper.
The One-Day International at Melbourne turned out to be among the last few games where Lawry marshalled the Australians, before the formidable batsman was axed by the selectors for the final Test in Sydney, with England leading the series 1-0.