No. 15 April 10, 2010

Bodyline

There was outrage over England's tactics in the 1932-33 Ashes, but in the years that followed bouncers shocked no one
19

1932-33

Young folk may challenge the claim, but the 1932-33 series between Australia and England remains the most sensational Test series of them all. People were more easily shocked in those days. Cricket was still a fairly polite game. The code of honour was strictly and readily adhered to by everyone, so when Douglas Jardine unleashed his hostile fast attack of Harold Larwood and Bill Voce, who bowled short on and outside the line of the leg stump, there was outrage. Five or six short-leg fieldsmen waited to catch the ball from batsmen's desperate parries, with a couple of leg-side outfielders ready for the imperfect hook.

The principal target was Don Bradman, whose run-making over the previous three years had transformed the record book. "Our Don" was Australia's most treasured asset, a source of pride and a comfort to his legions of fans in desperate times of unemployment and economic hardship. England needed to subdue him. Jardine's strategy was to restrict him by means of fast Leg Theory. (This aloof and somewhat shy man scorned the Australian term "Bodyline".) And succeeded. The Don's average was cut to a mere 56, with only one century.

But the cost to England's image was catastrophic. Here was the revered Mother Country playing dirty. At that time the intimidation and the concentrated field setting were both within the letter of the Laws. But as even some of the English players privately recognised, they were contrary to the spirit of the game. The tourists won four of the Tests, losing only the second, on a slow Melbourne pitch where Bradman coupled a duck with a splendid, hardworking century.

It took a long time to heal the injured feelings, which had even concerned the governments of both countries. Subtle unwritten pledges were extracted that the Australians would not be subjected to Bodyline during the 1934 tour, and in due course the Laws were tightened in an effort to prevent any repetition - though not soon enough to spare India from assault by other England fast bowlers under Jardine's control in 1933-34.

Thereafter, bouncers were widely regarded as unsporting and unwanted - until, that is, the Second World War changed everything. In the late 1940s Bradman had Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller at his disposal, and the bouncers flew again. Yet even those blistering sessions were but an attenuated preamble to what happened in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Then, with four hefty fast bowlers at his disposal, one West Indies captain after another let them loose all day. The survivors of the original Bodyline series marvelled that there was no public riot, for it had come close to that in Adelaide in 1933, when two of Australia's batsmen were felled. Yet now, in a period of 20 years, West Indies fast men sent 40 opposing batsmen to hospital.

To repeat: our fathers and grandfathers were shocked more easily.

David Frith is an author, historian, and founding editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly. This article was first published in Wisden Asia Cricket magazine

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • simagin on April 13, 2010, 16:38 GMT

    Well said 'Hammond!' Larwood reckoned the whole execise would result in him getting repeatedly whacked to the boundary, in the way McCabe did in the first test. Had McCabe stayed healthy, and Jackson been available, 'bodyline' may well have been abandoned before the end of the second test, other than as angainst Bradman. The fact is the rest of the Australian batmen weren't good enough against fast bowling, full stop. Sutcliffe, who Ian Chappell absurdly reckons was afraid that Australia would retaliate with short piched bowling, once said he would back himself to hit 9 bouncers out of 10 into the gap between the men at deep square and deep fine leg!! In 1931, Sutcliffe and Leyland hit Ken Farnes for 75 runs in 4 overs!! Farnes was at one time reckoned to be the World's fastest bowler. Had England's attack been built round Verity, Mitchell and Robins, then Australia, who played against legspin all the time, would probably have made huge scores!!

  • Hammond on April 12, 2010, 23:31 GMT

    David, surely you of all people know that your post was a load of hoo haa..

    The 4 pronged pace attack of the eighties had nothing at all in common with bodyline. Neither did the "bumper barrage" or Miller & Lindwall (even though Lindwall rarely used his bumper)..

    It was the field placings that were the key. Batsman back then used the hook and used it better than they do today because of the back and across footwork they used to cover off stump because of the old lbw laws.

    It was the men on the fence catching the hook, plus the 4-6 men you see in the photo above that the batsman had to worry about when playing a short ball on leg stump.

    There really isn't any antedote to that type of attack.. not everyone can hook a 90mph bouncer from your throat to the ground with ease. The Don tried to back away and hit on the vacant off side but was branded a coward.

    Clive Llyod would be upset with the comparison I think Mr Frith.

  • simagin on April 12, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    A few historical points to add to the 80 years of hype! 'Bodyline' was aimed at a leg stump line, not the batsman's body!! There is some footage on youtube which shows the batting technique the Australian batmen were using, taking advantage of the lbw laws in force at the time. It was recommended technique at the time to stand in front of the stumps, so 'the line of the body' is actually leg stump. Leg theory was a well established tactic at the time. Warwick Armstrong - the Australian captain, had previously used it in test cricket, as had Frank Foster. Fast, short pitched bowling wasn't new either - Numbers vary as to how many batmen Macdonald and Gregory, the Australian opening bowlers, injured in one tour of England. Frank Foster and Fred Root had previously bowled fast leg theory at Australia. Pataudi was not dropped for objecting to Bodyline!!In the 2nd test he scored 20 in 118 deliveries without a 4. Australia did try to retaliate in the 5th test through Alexander.

  • Percy_Fender on April 12, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    That is just it. Bodyline was an ugly underhand trick when Bradman was the recipient. That it is common place now is what makes cricket a game that has truly evolved beyond recognition. In fact, before Larwood, the bowling greats from England Maurice Tate and Alec Bedser were medium pacers. Tate made his debut in 1923 and Alec Bedser in 1946. Bradman made his debut in 1926 and retired in 1948. Sir Alec died recently and in the tributes that flowed to him he mentioned having got Bradman 6 times without scoring. On his part Bradman was unflincing in his praise of Bedser.Maurice Tate was in fact an off spinner to begin with. It is just that one day he bowled medium pace of the same action and run up and proved to be deceptivly quick. The point I am trying to make is that there was just one unplayable Larwood in those days unlike today when you have so many around.Bodyline was a heinous offence when it happened to Bradman and because the game was a metaphor of gentlemanly conduct then.

  • del_ on April 12, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Hahaha. I love how misguided some of you Indian supporters are that you try to attack Australia over a story from the 1930's. nirvanam, it gets constantly rehashed but go and check the records and find out which country has the worst disiplinary record and you'll see it's your beloved players - you have team mates that even hit each other with cricket bats. I think you'll find that a lot of Indian incidents occur against nations other than Australia too, so your your argument of 'playing down' to Australia holds no water either. Back on the article; it is strange that it created such a problem then, but you really do have to put yourself in the age to understand it. Although the TV series is quite old now too, I felt it really captures what went on (although a little embelished). Might have to hunt it down and watch it again.

  • rko_rules on April 12, 2010, 2:52 GMT

    "Yet even those blistering sessions were but an attenuated preamble to what happened in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Then, with four hefty fast bowlers at his disposal, one West Indies captain after another let them loose all day." Haha so funny, but really, i wish i could find a time machine and go back to those days to see that true fast bowling by West indies foursome, that everone talks about including my father, coz i was born in 1985

  • Engle on April 12, 2010, 2:27 GMT

    @Vikram, to retaliate in kind, one has to have the means. And Australia did not have the fast bowling attack to reciprocate. They did have a quickie in Eddie Gilbert, but he was an aboriginal and in those days, aboriginals were not picked for Tests. Also, if Aus attempted to retaliate, Jardine could have raised the stakes and chillingly unleashed Larwood on non-batsmen. In any event, Woodfull was a principal and his famous comment said it all. Now, if I.Chappell was captain with Thommo straining...that would make things interesting

  • on April 11, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    Thank you gentlemen.You were more or less right about this.Wikipedia expands thus..efore the Second Test in Melbourne, Woodfull had to wait until minutes before the game before he was confirmed as captain by the selectors.[39] This caused the toss to be delayed and fomented speculation that the Australian Board of Control were considering the possibility of removing Woodfull because of his absolute refusal to allow his bowlers to use retaliatory tactics.[40][41] His deputy Victor Richardson had advocated retaliation along with several other players.[42] Richardson recalled Woodfull's private response: There is no way I will be influenced to adopt such tactics which bring such discredit to the game. I know Tim could do it but I am not going to participate in actions that can only hurt the game.[42] Weird this coming from an Aussie.

  • CaptainPedant on April 11, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    Another couple of comparisons with the West Indies of, say, 1976. Bodyline rested on the shoulders of two bowlers, Bowes present but used for only one Test and that to little effect, Allen bowling to an orthodox field throughout. AFAIK the over-rate throughout was normal for the time, Larwood and Voce bowled as much as they could and the rest was the duty of Allen, Verity, Hammond and others. There was no foot-draggingly slow over-rate to ensure that when one bowler began to tire anotherof the quartet could take over. And Jardine made no bones about his responsibility for the tactic. Clive Lloyd's response when Holding, Roberts and Daniel worked over Edrich and Close with a couple of hours' worth of half-trackers? "Our boys got carried away".

  • DamieninFrance on April 11, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    As a 'squealing' Australian, I also have to note that the 'Bodyline' series did amazing things to increase the interest in the great sport that is Cricket. As someone who now lives in France, I do whatever I can to catch any glimpse of a live cricket match. Sadly, not all cricket enthusiasts are as committed. In a time when Cricket is growing in interest around the world, and when all other sports are madly trying to attract interest, I have no qualms with the players and administrators trying to be innovative in order to grow the market. If it means pink balls for a day/night test, promotion of the Twenty20 version, or changing the score for a boundary during the slower overs of an ODI match; I'm all for it, if it increases interest in this great game. For the record, I despise Jardine for his role in the 'Bodyline' series, but I also respect and admire him for adding such an interesting element to Cricket's great history.

  • simagin on April 13, 2010, 16:38 GMT

    Well said 'Hammond!' Larwood reckoned the whole execise would result in him getting repeatedly whacked to the boundary, in the way McCabe did in the first test. Had McCabe stayed healthy, and Jackson been available, 'bodyline' may well have been abandoned before the end of the second test, other than as angainst Bradman. The fact is the rest of the Australian batmen weren't good enough against fast bowling, full stop. Sutcliffe, who Ian Chappell absurdly reckons was afraid that Australia would retaliate with short piched bowling, once said he would back himself to hit 9 bouncers out of 10 into the gap between the men at deep square and deep fine leg!! In 1931, Sutcliffe and Leyland hit Ken Farnes for 75 runs in 4 overs!! Farnes was at one time reckoned to be the World's fastest bowler. Had England's attack been built round Verity, Mitchell and Robins, then Australia, who played against legspin all the time, would probably have made huge scores!!

  • Hammond on April 12, 2010, 23:31 GMT

    David, surely you of all people know that your post was a load of hoo haa..

    The 4 pronged pace attack of the eighties had nothing at all in common with bodyline. Neither did the "bumper barrage" or Miller & Lindwall (even though Lindwall rarely used his bumper)..

    It was the field placings that were the key. Batsman back then used the hook and used it better than they do today because of the back and across footwork they used to cover off stump because of the old lbw laws.

    It was the men on the fence catching the hook, plus the 4-6 men you see in the photo above that the batsman had to worry about when playing a short ball on leg stump.

    There really isn't any antedote to that type of attack.. not everyone can hook a 90mph bouncer from your throat to the ground with ease. The Don tried to back away and hit on the vacant off side but was branded a coward.

    Clive Llyod would be upset with the comparison I think Mr Frith.

  • simagin on April 12, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    A few historical points to add to the 80 years of hype! 'Bodyline' was aimed at a leg stump line, not the batsman's body!! There is some footage on youtube which shows the batting technique the Australian batmen were using, taking advantage of the lbw laws in force at the time. It was recommended technique at the time to stand in front of the stumps, so 'the line of the body' is actually leg stump. Leg theory was a well established tactic at the time. Warwick Armstrong - the Australian captain, had previously used it in test cricket, as had Frank Foster. Fast, short pitched bowling wasn't new either - Numbers vary as to how many batmen Macdonald and Gregory, the Australian opening bowlers, injured in one tour of England. Frank Foster and Fred Root had previously bowled fast leg theory at Australia. Pataudi was not dropped for objecting to Bodyline!!In the 2nd test he scored 20 in 118 deliveries without a 4. Australia did try to retaliate in the 5th test through Alexander.

  • Percy_Fender on April 12, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    That is just it. Bodyline was an ugly underhand trick when Bradman was the recipient. That it is common place now is what makes cricket a game that has truly evolved beyond recognition. In fact, before Larwood, the bowling greats from England Maurice Tate and Alec Bedser were medium pacers. Tate made his debut in 1923 and Alec Bedser in 1946. Bradman made his debut in 1926 and retired in 1948. Sir Alec died recently and in the tributes that flowed to him he mentioned having got Bradman 6 times without scoring. On his part Bradman was unflincing in his praise of Bedser.Maurice Tate was in fact an off spinner to begin with. It is just that one day he bowled medium pace of the same action and run up and proved to be deceptivly quick. The point I am trying to make is that there was just one unplayable Larwood in those days unlike today when you have so many around.Bodyline was a heinous offence when it happened to Bradman and because the game was a metaphor of gentlemanly conduct then.

  • del_ on April 12, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Hahaha. I love how misguided some of you Indian supporters are that you try to attack Australia over a story from the 1930's. nirvanam, it gets constantly rehashed but go and check the records and find out which country has the worst disiplinary record and you'll see it's your beloved players - you have team mates that even hit each other with cricket bats. I think you'll find that a lot of Indian incidents occur against nations other than Australia too, so your your argument of 'playing down' to Australia holds no water either. Back on the article; it is strange that it created such a problem then, but you really do have to put yourself in the age to understand it. Although the TV series is quite old now too, I felt it really captures what went on (although a little embelished). Might have to hunt it down and watch it again.

  • rko_rules on April 12, 2010, 2:52 GMT

    "Yet even those blistering sessions were but an attenuated preamble to what happened in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Then, with four hefty fast bowlers at his disposal, one West Indies captain after another let them loose all day." Haha so funny, but really, i wish i could find a time machine and go back to those days to see that true fast bowling by West indies foursome, that everone talks about including my father, coz i was born in 1985

  • Engle on April 12, 2010, 2:27 GMT

    @Vikram, to retaliate in kind, one has to have the means. And Australia did not have the fast bowling attack to reciprocate. They did have a quickie in Eddie Gilbert, but he was an aboriginal and in those days, aboriginals were not picked for Tests. Also, if Aus attempted to retaliate, Jardine could have raised the stakes and chillingly unleashed Larwood on non-batsmen. In any event, Woodfull was a principal and his famous comment said it all. Now, if I.Chappell was captain with Thommo straining...that would make things interesting

  • on April 11, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    Thank you gentlemen.You were more or less right about this.Wikipedia expands thus..efore the Second Test in Melbourne, Woodfull had to wait until minutes before the game before he was confirmed as captain by the selectors.[39] This caused the toss to be delayed and fomented speculation that the Australian Board of Control were considering the possibility of removing Woodfull because of his absolute refusal to allow his bowlers to use retaliatory tactics.[40][41] His deputy Victor Richardson had advocated retaliation along with several other players.[42] Richardson recalled Woodfull's private response: There is no way I will be influenced to adopt such tactics which bring such discredit to the game. I know Tim could do it but I am not going to participate in actions that can only hurt the game.[42] Weird this coming from an Aussie.

  • CaptainPedant on April 11, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    Another couple of comparisons with the West Indies of, say, 1976. Bodyline rested on the shoulders of two bowlers, Bowes present but used for only one Test and that to little effect, Allen bowling to an orthodox field throughout. AFAIK the over-rate throughout was normal for the time, Larwood and Voce bowled as much as they could and the rest was the duty of Allen, Verity, Hammond and others. There was no foot-draggingly slow over-rate to ensure that when one bowler began to tire anotherof the quartet could take over. And Jardine made no bones about his responsibility for the tactic. Clive Lloyd's response when Holding, Roberts and Daniel worked over Edrich and Close with a couple of hours' worth of half-trackers? "Our boys got carried away".

  • DamieninFrance on April 11, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    As a 'squealing' Australian, I also have to note that the 'Bodyline' series did amazing things to increase the interest in the great sport that is Cricket. As someone who now lives in France, I do whatever I can to catch any glimpse of a live cricket match. Sadly, not all cricket enthusiasts are as committed. In a time when Cricket is growing in interest around the world, and when all other sports are madly trying to attract interest, I have no qualms with the players and administrators trying to be innovative in order to grow the market. If it means pink balls for a day/night test, promotion of the Twenty20 version, or changing the score for a boundary during the slower overs of an ODI match; I'm all for it, if it increases interest in this great game. For the record, I despise Jardine for his role in the 'Bodyline' series, but I also respect and admire him for adding such an interesting element to Cricket's great history.

  • on April 11, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    @Vikram - Woodfull's response: "There are two teams out there; one is trying to play cricket and the other is not."

  • on April 11, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    @nirvanam - FYI,As the article and the TV series portrayed, the Australian team at that time were not squealers. Woodfull was a thoroughly honorable man who played fair. Do not look at that team in through the prism of today. To say that Jardine was a statesman is to overlook the fact that he was a typical product of conservative England of that time with all the prejudice against colonials and an arrogant belief in the total rightness of his conduct regardless of the fact that others disagreed. To compare him to Kapil who is a great leader but definitely not arrogant is completely off Jardine knew that there would be a public outcry but cold blooded planned this because he felt that the colonials especially Bradman had to be put in their place. This is clearly brought in the BBC serial on Bodyline. Again FYI, it was Ian Chappell who started the aggressive Aussie attitude that we see today.

  • master_of_none_00 on April 11, 2010, 0:40 GMT

    @Vikram - Australia had an attack based on spin at the time, with O'Reilly and Grimmett, and could not have retaliated even if they wanted to. Woodfull was too honourable a man to stoop to those tactics anyway

  • on April 10, 2010, 23:03 GMT

    Here is my question.Why could Australian bowlers not pay them back in kind ? It was a 5 test series right.I am sure they had enough time to observe and understand what the English bowlers were trying, and get back at them with some of the same.This is a question that has always come to me in context of the Bodyline series.Two play this game, right ? Anyone ?

  • nirvanam on April 10, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    The first time I heard about Bodyline I was about 9-10 yrs old. T'was the TV show with a guy called Gary Sweet playing Bradman. While all my friends and of course my family would speak highly of Don and how he combated the English I was instantly drawn to the statesmanlike, no non-sense personification of Jardine by Weaving moreso because somehow I could see in that portrayal my hero Kapil's image. FWIW I believe the Aussies deserved it..they are the biggest squealers in cricket's history. Life has taught me not to be a "win at all costs" kinda person but it has also taught me that to beat an opponent you need to play at his level. Now if the opponent is a man, you play like a man but if its a bitchy lil Aussie team under Ponting then you play them that way. If you play like Bhajji, Sreesanth, and a few other such guys then you deserve to be played against in the same way. But fortunately IO haven't seen India playing without spirit against all except Oz.

  • AlokJoshi on April 10, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    Whilst Jardine masterminded use of leg-side centric short-pitched fast bowling aimed at batsman's body largely helped England to regain the Ashes in 1933, it was at the cost of lost credibility. World at large deemed it unethical. Jardine's teammates Pataudi Sr, Gubby Allen etc did not support it. True, WI pacers have accounted for more 'absent hurt' opponents than Oldfield at Adelaide; the novelty associated with bodyline bowling alongwith off-the-field rows and diplomacy has made 1932-33 Ashes series more sensational than others. Larwood was made the scapegoat: he never played test cricket after Sydney 1933. The cricketing world was poorer too, given the untimely demise of Archie Jackson on the day Ashes was lost by Australia. Amidst tough times for world economies (recession was the buzzword), cricket had changed forever. Measures have followed - legside field restrictions, bouncer restriction, better protective gear etc - to ensure continuity of dominance of batsmen over bowlers.

  • Vindaliew on April 10, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    @ Sandgroper - By the time the West Indians ran through everything before them, it was no longer legal to pack the legside field the way Jardine did. Only two fielders allowed in the pieslice between wicketkeeper and square leg, I think. I don't think the West Indians would have utilised it even if they were allowed to, I think. There was no Bradman in the opposing teams.

    I read in a book somewhere that Jardine, having used bodyline, was subjected to it by the West Indian team later on (although they didn't have bowlers of the same pace). Jardine scored a century, showing how he could combat bodyline, and promptly never played another test or something.

  • on April 10, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    A minor quibble: Jardine did NOT use Bodyline tactics against India in 1933-34. Not consistently, anyway. It would have been silly: he had Nobby Clark, but he didn't have Larwood, Voce or Allen, whereas India had a first-rate pace attack in Nissar and Amar Singh. Jardine tended to be rather gentlemanly and relaxed in the matches he captained against India. He probably did not see India as a serious adversary in the same sense that Australia was an adversary. It can also be speculated that with his family background, Jardine had a soft corner for India. (That didn't stop him from axing Pataudi Sr. for defiance during the Bodyline series.)

    On another note: the WI tactics of the 1970s were anticipated by Griffith, Gilchist and Hall in the 1960s, surely.

    Another point

  • Sandgroper61 on April 10, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    Worth remembering that when Jardine first paraded his "leg theory" in a county game the report in the Times by "Our Correspondent" (no bylines in those days) was outraged, and condemned the tactic as cheating and contrary to the spirit of the game. "Our Correspondent" was Pelham Warner - who was England's manager during the Bodyline tour. The West Indies (who were responding to their mauling by Australia in 75-76) used fast bowlers but, crucially, without the packed legside field that took away a batsman's options in both defence and attack. Their bowling was physical and intimidatory but the batsman, if good enough, could choose to attack, defend or duck ... alas, there weren't many batsman good enough, or mentally strong enough, to cope at that time.

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  • Sandgroper61 on April 10, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    Worth remembering that when Jardine first paraded his "leg theory" in a county game the report in the Times by "Our Correspondent" (no bylines in those days) was outraged, and condemned the tactic as cheating and contrary to the spirit of the game. "Our Correspondent" was Pelham Warner - who was England's manager during the Bodyline tour. The West Indies (who were responding to their mauling by Australia in 75-76) used fast bowlers but, crucially, without the packed legside field that took away a batsman's options in both defence and attack. Their bowling was physical and intimidatory but the batsman, if good enough, could choose to attack, defend or duck ... alas, there weren't many batsman good enough, or mentally strong enough, to cope at that time.

  • on April 10, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    A minor quibble: Jardine did NOT use Bodyline tactics against India in 1933-34. Not consistently, anyway. It would have been silly: he had Nobby Clark, but he didn't have Larwood, Voce or Allen, whereas India had a first-rate pace attack in Nissar and Amar Singh. Jardine tended to be rather gentlemanly and relaxed in the matches he captained against India. He probably did not see India as a serious adversary in the same sense that Australia was an adversary. It can also be speculated that with his family background, Jardine had a soft corner for India. (That didn't stop him from axing Pataudi Sr. for defiance during the Bodyline series.)

    On another note: the WI tactics of the 1970s were anticipated by Griffith, Gilchist and Hall in the 1960s, surely.

    Another point

  • Vindaliew on April 10, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    @ Sandgroper - By the time the West Indians ran through everything before them, it was no longer legal to pack the legside field the way Jardine did. Only two fielders allowed in the pieslice between wicketkeeper and square leg, I think. I don't think the West Indians would have utilised it even if they were allowed to, I think. There was no Bradman in the opposing teams.

    I read in a book somewhere that Jardine, having used bodyline, was subjected to it by the West Indian team later on (although they didn't have bowlers of the same pace). Jardine scored a century, showing how he could combat bodyline, and promptly never played another test or something.

  • AlokJoshi on April 10, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    Whilst Jardine masterminded use of leg-side centric short-pitched fast bowling aimed at batsman's body largely helped England to regain the Ashes in 1933, it was at the cost of lost credibility. World at large deemed it unethical. Jardine's teammates Pataudi Sr, Gubby Allen etc did not support it. True, WI pacers have accounted for more 'absent hurt' opponents than Oldfield at Adelaide; the novelty associated with bodyline bowling alongwith off-the-field rows and diplomacy has made 1932-33 Ashes series more sensational than others. Larwood was made the scapegoat: he never played test cricket after Sydney 1933. The cricketing world was poorer too, given the untimely demise of Archie Jackson on the day Ashes was lost by Australia. Amidst tough times for world economies (recession was the buzzword), cricket had changed forever. Measures have followed - legside field restrictions, bouncer restriction, better protective gear etc - to ensure continuity of dominance of batsmen over bowlers.

  • nirvanam on April 10, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    The first time I heard about Bodyline I was about 9-10 yrs old. T'was the TV show with a guy called Gary Sweet playing Bradman. While all my friends and of course my family would speak highly of Don and how he combated the English I was instantly drawn to the statesmanlike, no non-sense personification of Jardine by Weaving moreso because somehow I could see in that portrayal my hero Kapil's image. FWIW I believe the Aussies deserved it..they are the biggest squealers in cricket's history. Life has taught me not to be a "win at all costs" kinda person but it has also taught me that to beat an opponent you need to play at his level. Now if the opponent is a man, you play like a man but if its a bitchy lil Aussie team under Ponting then you play them that way. If you play like Bhajji, Sreesanth, and a few other such guys then you deserve to be played against in the same way. But fortunately IO haven't seen India playing without spirit against all except Oz.

  • on April 10, 2010, 23:03 GMT

    Here is my question.Why could Australian bowlers not pay them back in kind ? It was a 5 test series right.I am sure they had enough time to observe and understand what the English bowlers were trying, and get back at them with some of the same.This is a question that has always come to me in context of the Bodyline series.Two play this game, right ? Anyone ?

  • master_of_none_00 on April 11, 2010, 0:40 GMT

    @Vikram - Australia had an attack based on spin at the time, with O'Reilly and Grimmett, and could not have retaliated even if they wanted to. Woodfull was too honourable a man to stoop to those tactics anyway

  • on April 11, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    @nirvanam - FYI,As the article and the TV series portrayed, the Australian team at that time were not squealers. Woodfull was a thoroughly honorable man who played fair. Do not look at that team in through the prism of today. To say that Jardine was a statesman is to overlook the fact that he was a typical product of conservative England of that time with all the prejudice against colonials and an arrogant belief in the total rightness of his conduct regardless of the fact that others disagreed. To compare him to Kapil who is a great leader but definitely not arrogant is completely off Jardine knew that there would be a public outcry but cold blooded planned this because he felt that the colonials especially Bradman had to be put in their place. This is clearly brought in the BBC serial on Bodyline. Again FYI, it was Ian Chappell who started the aggressive Aussie attitude that we see today.

  • on April 11, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    @Vikram - Woodfull's response: "There are two teams out there; one is trying to play cricket and the other is not."

  • DamieninFrance on April 11, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    As a 'squealing' Australian, I also have to note that the 'Bodyline' series did amazing things to increase the interest in the great sport that is Cricket. As someone who now lives in France, I do whatever I can to catch any glimpse of a live cricket match. Sadly, not all cricket enthusiasts are as committed. In a time when Cricket is growing in interest around the world, and when all other sports are madly trying to attract interest, I have no qualms with the players and administrators trying to be innovative in order to grow the market. If it means pink balls for a day/night test, promotion of the Twenty20 version, or changing the score for a boundary during the slower overs of an ODI match; I'm all for it, if it increases interest in this great game. For the record, I despise Jardine for his role in the 'Bodyline' series, but I also respect and admire him for adding such an interesting element to Cricket's great history.