Bodyline Series / News

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Bodyline quotes

Martin Williamson

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The build-up

"We may well win the Ashes, but we may very well lose a Dominion."
Rockley Wilson, the former Yorkshire and England spinner and Douglas Jardine's coach at Winchester, on hearing of his former pupil's selection as England captain

"The feeling is ******* mutual."
Douglas Jardine, who was nicknamed Sardine by the Australian crowds on the 1928-29 Ashes tour and barracked wherever he went, in response to a comment from Patsy Hendren that "the Australians don't really like you"

"England must develop a new type of bowler and fresh ideas and strange tactics to curb his almost uncanny skill."
Plum Warner writing the day after Don Bradman made 334 at Leeds in 1930. Warner was the manager of the England side in 1932-33

"I feel sure something new will have to be introduced to curb Bradman."
Surrey captain Percy Fender after being on the receiving end of a Bradman onslaught in 1930

"I've got it ... he's yellow."
Jardine as he watched film of Bradman batting at The Oval in 1930 on a spiteful wicket

"I had a score to settle with him ... he'd got on top of me. As a professional, any scheme that would keep him in check appealed to me."
Harold Larwood on being told of the plans to bowl to Bradman using a form of leg theory

The early exchanges

"We're not a bad side ... and if we don't beat you, we'll knock your bloody blocks off."
Bill Voce to Vic Richardson

"He's a queer fellow. When he sees a cricket ground with an Australian on it, he goes mad."
Warner on Jardine

"Jardine is loathed more than any German who ever fought in any war ...sometimes I feel I should like to kill [him] and today is one of those days."
Gubby Allen in a letter home to his parents

"He's a very difficult fellow ... hates Australians and his special hate is now Bradman ... he says cruel things and his language is poor at times. Not often but he uses awful words at times in talking eg of Bradman."
Warner writing about Jardine in a letter to his wife in November 1932

"You fellas have no idea what sort of summer this is going to be."
Bradman's warning to team-mates after experiencing Bodyline bowling in an early match in Perth

The 1st Test

"If I get hit, dad, stop mum jumping the fence."
Stan McCabe to his parents as he prepared to go out to bat. He scored 187 not out in one of the great Test innings

"I see His Highness is a conscientious objector."
Jardine to the Nawab of Pataudi after he refuses to field in the leg cordon to Bodyline bowling

"Good God, it's changed three times while you've been in."
Vic Richardson's response the the Nawab of Pataudi. Richardson had asked why the painfully dour Nawab was batting so slowly and he had replied that he was "waiting for the pace of the wicket to change"

"All Australians are an uneducated and unruly mob."
Jardine to Stork Hendry, Australia's wicketkeeper

The 2nd Test

"If legislation were introduced to eradicate leg theory cricket would become an invalid, and comparable to a one-legged man, able to satisfy up to a point but unable to obtain the supreme heights of action."
Archie Jackson, who even though only 23 had played his last game for Australia. He died of TB less than a fortnight after writing these words in a newspaper column

"Just with a nod of the head Jardine signalled his men, and they came across to the leg side like a swarm of hungry sharks."
Former Australian spinner Arthur Mailey on the first signs of Bodyline at Melbourne

"Well I'll be fooked."
Bill Bowes after bowling Bradman first ball. It was his only wicket of the series

"When's your Don coming in?"
Bob Wyatt after Bradman's first baller to spectators who had been taunting him with cries of "Wait till our Don comes in"

"It's a dangerous thing to score a century in our team. You'll get yourself dropped quickly if you do."
The Nawab of Pataudi who scored a hundred on debut in the first Test and was dropped for the rest of the series after the second

The 3rd Test

"Well bowled, Harold!"
Jardine's loud comment after Larwood had felled Bill Woodfull with a ball in the chest

"It was the most unsportsmanlike act ever witnessed on an Australian cricket field."
Australian selector Bill Johnson on Jardine's decision to switch to a Bodyline field immediately after Woodfull had been hit

"I don't want to see you Mr Warner. There are two teams out there; one is trying to play cricket and the other is not. The matter is in your hands, Mr Warner, and I have nothing further to say to you. Good afternoon."
Woodfull, Australia's captain, to Warner during the nadir of the series on the third day at Adelaide. Warner had gone to Australian dressing room to check if Woodfull was alright

"No beer, no play Monday, and I mean that."
Teetotaller Woodfull on being told that no more beer would be brought to the dressing room for his players as they had exceeded their allowance

"It wasn't your fault Harold."
Bert Oldfield to Larwood after he had been hit in the head

"We bade sentimental farewells to each other as each batsman made his way out to bat. We had a genuine feeling they were making a journey from which they might be borne back on a stretcher."
Bill O'Reilly reveals the tension inside the Australian dressing room

"I wanted to hit one bowler [Verity] before the other [Larwood] hit me."
Bradman explains his cavalier approach to batting in Australia's second innings. He hit his first six in a Test and perished trying to do the same off the next ball

"OK, which of you bastards called Larwood a bastard instead of this bastard."
Richardson on opening the dressing-room door to face Jardine demanding an apology after he overheard one of the Australians sledging Larwood

"Why, mummy, he doesn't look like a murderer."
Story recounted by Larwood who was pointed out to her son by a women while he was visiting a theatre in Adelaide

"If this is allowed to continue batsmen will be compelled to wear baseball masks and heavy padding. Then the fast bowlers could fire away until they were worn out."
writing in his newspaper column

The 4th Test

"If there was a most popular man competition promoted in Australia at the moment and Douglas Jardine constituted all three starters in it, it would be safe to wager he wouldn't fill a place."
Lead article in Melbourne's Truth newspaper

"I would sooner return from Brisbane with a pair of ducks than a pair of broken ribs."
Bradman to a friend, according to Jack Fingleton

"It were nowt more than a sore throat."
Eddie Paynter shrugs off praise after he left his hospital bed to rescue England's first innings with a battling 83

"Congratulations magnificent bowling. Good luck all matches."
A telegram from Jackson to Larwood on the penultimate day of the Brisbane Test. Jackson died later that night

The 5th Test

"We've got the bastards down there, and we'll keep them there."
Jardine to an exhausted Larwood after he asked to be rested for the final Test

"Here they are, Harold, you can have them."
O'Reilly offers Larwood his wicket rather than face Bodyline

"You little bastard, I knew you could play."
Jardine to Larwood after he had made 98 as a nightwatchman

"I've killed him! I've killed him!"
Fast bowler Bull Alexander's gleeful yell when he struck Jardine a painful blow on the hip. Clearly hurt, Jardine barely flinched

"You can't go off while the little bastard''s in."
Jardine to Larwood after he had broken down in the final Test. He refused to allow a crippled Larwood to leave the field until Bradman was out. The two left the field together, albeit ignoring each other

Barracking

"Get stuck into this ******* Pommie, Gilbert. It was his ******* mob that took all the land from your ******* mob"
Encouragement to Aboriginal fast bowler Eddie Gilbert when Jardine came in to bat during the Queensland tour match

"Hey, Jardine, where's yer butler to carry yer bat for you?"

"Hey, Harold, that would have been a yorker if you'd bowled it from the other end."
Aimed at Larwood after a series of particularly short bouncers

"Good on yer Don ... everyone in Australia's behind you except me and I'm a Pommie"

"Thank goodness he's not a bloody centipede."
The SCG's legendary Yabba to Maurice Tate after he had changed his boots for the third time in a session during a state game against New South Wales

"For God's sake Wyatt ... we've seen all your strokes except one, and that's sunstroke"

"Oi, leave our flies alone, Jardine. They're the only flamin' friends you've got here."
Yelled at Jardine as he tried to swat a particularly persistent fly away

"Don't give the bastard a drink. Let him die of thirst."
Jardine's favourite piece of barracking from Sydney crowd

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Series/Tournaments: MCC tour of Australia 1932-33
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