August 23, 2008

Australian cricket

The Don's finest declaration

Brydon Coverdale

In the lead-up to the 100th anniversary of Don Bradman’s birth, his biographer Roland Perry looks back in the Age at how Bradman, as chairman of the Australian Cricket Board, handled the issue of playing against South Africa in the apartheid era.

He flew to South Africa to meet the prime minister of the republic, John Vorster, a former wartime political extremist who supported and admired the Nazis and Adolf Hitler. Vorster welcomed Bradman, believing he would support the cricket tour. But the meeting turned sour. Bradman asked questions in his direct way about why black people had not been given a chance to represent their country. Vorster suggested that they were intellectually inferior and could not cope with the intricacies of cricket. Bradman laughed at this.

"Have you ever heard of Garry Sobers?" he asked. Bradman flew on to the UK to meet former British prime minister Harold Wilson and the incumbent, Ted Heath, and returned to Australia with his mind made up.

In the same paper, Charles Davis scours old scorebooks searching for an extra four runs that would give Bradman the Test average of 100.

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Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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