Gleanings GleaningsRSS FeedFeeds
Cricketers reflect on their lives and times

Bill Brown

'I never lost my fascination with the game'

An Invincible looks back at Bradman, McCabe and the rest

Interview by Peter English

Text size: A | A



© National Library of Australia
Enlarge

New South Wales first picked me to play Queensland and I was run out for none without hitting a ball. I thought I was finished.

As a boy I was at the Marrickville club once for a trial as a youngster, but when the teams came out I wasn't in any of them. "I'll never play for that club," I said. The next thing, the treasurer was at the door - "Someone's dropped out of fifth grade." "I'd love to play," I quickly said.

I drifted into opening up with Bill Woodfull, Bill Ponsford and Jack Fingleton. Our job in those days was pretty clear: stay there until lunch on the first day. The pace you scored at didn't matter a darn.

Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer complement each other. They play a much harder game than when I played. We tipped the ball and ran; they hit the ball.

Stan McCabe played the most magnificent innings I've ever seen, at Nottingham in 1938. Bradman went up to him when he got out for 232 and said: "Stan, if I could play an innings like that, I'd be a very proud man." It was magic.

I got a double-century at Lord's on the same tour but there was a vast difference between the two innings. Mine, you might say, was a crafted innings. I've taken one of my grandsons up to see the honour board - that was nice.

It's a tough choice, but I preferred batting with Jack Fingleton. We complemented one another and we both ran well between the wickets.

In 1948 we didn't start off with any particular thought of going undefeated, but it evolved in Don's mind when we started to win matches. Poor Lindsay Hassett was vice-captain and whenever we got into trouble he seemed to be in charge.

I was fascinated with the game as a boy. I never lost that.

You couldn't help but lift your game when you played with Bradman.

The man I really admired most was Stan McCabe. He was frightening to watch.

When I was captain I loved putting Bill O'Reilly on. The game came alive, with men around the bat; there was always a chance of a wicket falling. You couldn't help but admire his wonderful control, the length he bowled, and the different spin he put on the ball.

I'm a great fan of Steve Waugh. he's a tremendous bloke and a wonderful cricketer.

Vinoo Mankad taught me to smarten myself up with the two run-outs in 1947-48. In the Sydney Test he bowled and didn't let the ball go. Later I called him to say there were no hard feelings - he said he would never do it to me again. Soon after, in the Melbourne Test, I was run out for 99. As I walked off I looked to see who threw it - my old mate Vinoo. So much for his promise.

I watch the cricket now, but I don't sit glued to the TV. I was delighted to see Australia do so well in India.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo. This interview was first published in Wisden Asia Cricket magazine in 2004

RSS Feeds: Peter English

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Peter EnglishClose

    'Sri Lankan fans embrace the team, not just icon players'

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara talk about the World T20 win, and why their fans are special

    Desert-island reads

ESPNcricinfo XI: Cricket has spawned more books than almost any other sport. Here are Steven Lynch's favourites

    Test cricket needs fewer teams, not more

Ian Chappell: It's clear that for the ICC votes mean more than results

    Lara's peaks

Tony Cozier: While the 375 had a sense of inevitability to it, the 400 came amid a backdrop of strikes and the threat of a whitewash

The Argentine connection

Jonathan Wilson: Football may be the dominant sport in Argentina today but it wasn't the first sport the British brought here

News | Features Last 7 days

UAE all set to host lavish welcoming party

The controversy surrounding the IPL has done little to deter fans in UAE from flocking the stadiums, as they gear up to watch the Indian stars in action for the first time since 2006

Attention on Yuvraj, Gambhir in IPL 2014

ESPNcricinfo picks five players for whom this IPL is of bigger significance

The watch breaker, and Malinga specials

Plays of the day from the IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi

The captain's blunder

Plays of the day from the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi

India: cricket's Brazil

It's difficult to beat a huge talent base exposed to good facilities, and possessed of a long history of competing as a nation

News | Features Last 7 days