September 6, 2010

The poor boy who came to walk among kings

Bradman was cricket's first modern hero, a man who transcended his game, embodied the modern Australian journey, and became a symbol of mastery over fate
145

Some day in our lifetimes, the last person to have seen Sir Donald Bradman bat in a Test match will pass away. It may not be marked, like the deaths of the last survivors of the Titanic or the first day of the Somme, but in cricket's terms it will be as significant.

Of no cricketer has it been truer to say that their every innings was an event, in both the anticipation and recollection too. Only Sachin Tendulkar since has been accompanied to the crease by such uniformity of expectations, and even then these seldom ramify far beyond India. In fact, while assertions of Bradman's uniqueness usually concentrate on the phenomenon of his record as a statistical outlier, it's the combination of his level of performance with the fascination of his society that makes him not only a one-of-a-kind batsman but a one-of-a-kind cricket hero.

Cricket in the 1930s and 1940s enjoyed a cultural primacy in the Anglosphere, since rather diminished, and a status in Australia enhanced by the country's general modesty in other senses. "Who will write a biography of Sir Donald Bradman," noted CLR James, "must be able to write a history of Australia in the same period."

Here was a nation of unparalleled emptiness, of more than one square kilometre per person. At the outset of Bradman's career Australia's population was about the same as that of Jordan today; when his cricket ended, Australians were still less numerous than modern Austrians. Bradman filled that hollow, made it echo, made it resound, throughout an Empire still worth the title, and a world that grasped mastery if it struggled to wrap its mind around cricket - the subject, on receipt of his knighthood of an editorial in the New York Times. "There is no other kind but cricket in the British lexicon," the paper concluded. "Bradman was the unchallenged shining light for almost twenty years."

The tightness of the fit between Bradman's feats and his public's fancies was exquisite. His was the contemporary Australian journey. Still fewer than half Bradman's fellow Australians lived in cities; Bradman himself was off the land, as it were. But he also embodied the country's transition to an urban, white-collar future, and its belief in social mobility: he was the country boy who became an estate agent, retail assistant, stock broker and finally company director; he was the poor boy who came to walk among kings and prime ministers, and to enjoy an (unostentatious) wealth and (merited) honour; he was the ordinary man, small, compact, anatomically commonplace, prowess deriving not from fast-twitch fibres like a sprinter, or flipper-like feet like a swimmer, but from something about him, something in him, generally concealed, but when he came to the crease on show for the world to see.

As a representative of Australia's prevailing white Anglo-Saxon monoculture and its Protestant majority, Bradman grew into democratic privileges not really earned, and a dominant culture mainly imported. In the speech he gave at the Empire Theatre in February 1930 before departing on his first Ashes tour, Bradman faithfully espoused the values not of the bush frontiersman or the Anzac warrior but those of the English public schoolboy and muscular Christian:

"First my parents taught me to be a cricketer off the field as well as on. It was not 'did you win' but 'did you play the game' that made the man… I have no doubt that it [cricket] moulds in an individual the right type of character better than any other sport. If that can be substantiated, no other recommendation is required, because character must surely be one of the greatest assets any nation through its citizens can possess."

The acute sense of national identification with cricket's new hero, however, sprang from a deep and broad hankering for indigenous accomplishment. His feats, in their widely visible, verifiable and quantifiable nature, spoke not just of progress but of possibilities. In his lively 1951 memoir, Don Bradman, the poet and novelist Philip Lindsay, son of the artist Norman, provides one of the best descriptions of the particular pang of watching him.

No other cricketer had so resonated with audiences of his time. To see Bradman bat in a Test match was as ennobling as to have watched Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium and Ali at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps Caruso at La Scala and the Beatles at the Cavern as well

Reading poetry and watching cricket were the sum of my world, and the two are not as far apart as many aesthetes might believe; and when into this world came talk of a young phenomenon from Bowral, a lad of near my own age, I began to look towards him with nervous hope as though he were myself.

Most of us need an ideal. Nor is it necessary for that ideal to symbolise one's particular ambition. An actor can prove to be the spur, rousing one's spirit to a realisation of the greatness in mankind and the latent powers within oneself, but more often it is a work of art, the reading of a poem, the hearing of music, the sight of a great painting… and to me Don Bradman became that symbol of achievement, of mastery over fate, all the more powerful because it was impossible for me, a cricketing rabbit, to compare myself with him.

Indeed, while the everyman aspect of Bradman's achievements has been widely attested, his feats in the 1930s engaged the emergent Australia intelligentsia too. The critic Vance Palmer describes a visit to the great novelist Henry Handel Richardson in which the great novelist could scarcely speak of anything but Bradman; the historian Manning Clark reports the frustration of a foreign economist with local professors obsessed by cricket scores. Bradman offered Australians not just a corroboration of their sporting prowess but, to use Thomas Keneally's phrase, a "great way out of cultural ignominy".

The other salient precondition of the rise of Bradman is the coincidence of his career with the diffusion of radio, cinema and wire photographs as forms of mass communication, and the adaptation of newspapers to the role of investigation, interpretation and lionisation. Radio in particular, with its exhilarating immediacy and its free availability, was the ideal messenger for the steady unfolding of feats of scale like Bradman's scores. The merest fraction of those who revered Bradman ever saw him bat in person, yet in the 1930s and 1940s they were able to partake of his records and thereby feel a share in them.

Australian cricketers before him had regarded writing about the game, and themselves in it, as almost taboo: Bradman published his first autobiography aged 21. Australian cricketers had been filmed only from far away for newsreel purposes; Bradman appeared in his own instructional movie, That's Cricket. His captain Bill Woodfull introduces him in the film in terms of another entertainment technology, as having "more records than a gramophone company". Bringing modernity to cricket, he brought it also to the game's promotion and dissemination.

In this way, Bradman became perhaps the first cricket hero to genuinely transcend his game. Watching the thrall he exerted on his English hosts in 1948, John Arlott noted astutely: "More people are interested in Bradman, and not in cricket, than are interested in Bradman and cricket." Arlott summed Bradman's up as a general rather than a cricket-specific remarkableness:

He is the supremely capable man. Satisfied with the terms of his employment, he would make the perfect executive. He prefers, however, to make his efforts on his own behalf… He was given, and has maintained, a good average body and a good average brain; he has directed them with rare, perfect single-mindedness which makes for the attaining of objectives.

Arlott expressed a certain pity of Bradman in his burden of expectation on that tour.

An old-hand county batsman… can have a swish and get out and catch the early train home, or can say, "Don't send me in skipper - give one of the lads a chance and put me down number ten, my feet are sore." But when Bradman rests for one match or an arduous tour of England, the local spectators are hurt and they adduce fifty "good" reasons why Bradman ought to have played. If he moves himself down in the batting order he "insults our players". If he throws his wicket away, he has robbed ten thousand people of the conversational gambit, "When I saw Bradman make his hundred at ________."

But those spectators were on to something: to have been part of the legend at close quarters was something considerable, as perhaps for no other cricketer, in the sense that no other cricketer had so resonated with audiences of his time. To see Bradman bat in a Test match was as ennobling as to have watched Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium and Ali at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps Caruso at La Scala and the Beatles at the Cavern as well. In a choice tribute to the Australian, Michael Parkinson recalls his father, a miner from Barnsley in south Yorkshire, walking 30 miles to see Bradman bat, then wondering why this was thought at all strange.

Upon his return he faced a family who clearly believed he had a slate loose. Who, in their right mind, would waste that much precious shoe-leather to see a cricket match? My father went to his grave unrepentant. Retelling the story - as he did many times - he'd say, "But I saw HIM bat and they didn't."

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BillyCC on September 9, 2010, 22:50 GMT

    jay57870, thanks for mentioning the article: http://www.cricinfo.com/nzvind2009/content/story/398076.htm. Hadlee said "We didn't see at that time and you cannot visualise 20 years down the track what the player is likely to do in the context of the history of the game. When you score as many runs as he has in Test and one-day cricket and score as many centuries and half centuries as he has done, it makes him arguably the greatest player ever in the history of the game. Statistics speak volumes of his contribution to Indian and world cricket. He is a phenomenal player". About Bradman/Tendulkar: "Well, Sir Donald Bradman has been regarded as the greatest player ever. He played just Test cricket. He hasn't played any other forms of the game. Clearly, that is understandable. But to see Sachin and other players actually adjust to different forms of the game and different conditions all around the world, even though the average is fractionally more than half of the Don's is itself incredible

  • BillyCC on September 9, 2010, 20:55 GMT

    TheOnlyEmperor, the point is simple, without a helmet, Bodyline becomes extremely difficult to play. In fact, trying to score off Bodyline with the fields set would also be extremely difficult. Is it so hard to give credit where it is due?

  • jay57870 on September 9, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    With all the name-calling (fools, apes, etc), this debate is sadly turning into a circus. One of the respondents called somebody a fool for naming Sachin the greatest. This information is meant to educate those who do not know that somebody: He is Sir Richard Hadlee - (1) One of the first great cricketers to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame for his contributions to cricket: one of the best bowling all-rounders in the 1973-1990 period; (2) He is from New Zealand, not Australia or India, and so can be expected to be objective in his views; (3) He is one of the select few authoritative figures featured in the Legends of Cricket videos on Bradman where he pays a special tribute to the Don. With these unquestionable credentials, Hadlee is widely regarded as a keen and balanced observer of the game. Please read his statement carefully (in my earlier post below) on Tendulkar and Bradman. It may be different from yours, but please respect it and engage in a civil debate. Thanks.

  • rajeevsingh on September 9, 2010, 14:47 GMT

    @Harmony111 Problem with people like you are that you are only interested with personal milestones and achievements and team performance can go to hell.May be you are a match fixer by profession.Why do people play cricket?To win the match for their team and country and not just for personal statistics.And please do not mislead people by posting wrong statistics on Ponting because he averages more than 60 during the period 2003 to 2009. Any patriotic sportsman would be proud to be in a winning team rather than scoring thousands of runs in a losing cause.Definitely it is not Sachin's fault that he has not won any world title but you may ask him today and even he admits that the most valuable thing missing in his long career is a world title.Look at Australia.They have players who don't care whether they score 99 every match but the paramount aim is whether they win the match. And Australia have won hands down for the last 20 years as no one else in the history of the game of cricket

  • AhmadSaleem on September 9, 2010, 12:44 GMT

    Maco and Waseem are considered as two best fast bowlers since 1950 and they are not separated by much but still, there was not even a single comment published on the articles written on them proving one above the other. Everyone was all praise for both of them so everyone remained on the point, admired their genius and didn't write any shit. But whenever it turns to batting all Sachin fans start making their hero look biggest of all. Either the article is written on Lara or Ponting, they always drag Sachin there. And now they are proving themselves fools by comparing him with Don.

  • longrun on September 9, 2010, 11:20 GMT

    If anyone seriously thinks that anyone is better than Donald Bradman then they have absolutely no idea. The only rival is Garfield Sobers, averaged 60 with the bat, could bowl pace and spin, and was an outstanding fielder. But as this article points out (did the emperor read it i wonder), Don's legend is about more than just cricket. Don is the only cricketer with claims to be the greatest sportsman, in any sport, that has ever lived. In cricket it's Bradman who's the best, then the rest can fight for second. Other sports have arguements over the best ever, Ali has frazier etc, Jordan has kareem and wilt etc, i'm sure babe ruth has someone (baseball, pfft), athletics has heaps, swimming heaps, soccer heaps, motor sport heaps other sports heaps. Ps. best horse ever is Phar Lap, but that's open for debate ...

  • natmastak_so-called on September 9, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    its well known that don liked & admired Sachin . & the fellow readers hav ensured that don too would have wondrered how easily Sachin hijacked article dedicated to himself . & when talking abt these two there is no need to bring mortals like lara,punter .

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 9, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    @BillyCC: People played without helmets for over 100 years of cricket, so the Don playing cricket helmetless was no big deal. Gavaskar faced many of the WI quicks without a helmet and he was puny! Now what was your point?

  • Harmony111 on September 9, 2010, 7:20 GMT

    @BillyCC

    Not sure you took my 1990s vs 00s batting avg point correctly. Can you pls post the query string used? My point was bout the average batting average, taken as an aggregate.

    Here are the query strings I used:

    1990: http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;groupby=overall;orderby=runs;spanmax1=31+Dec+1999;spanmin1=01+Jan+1990;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting

    2000: http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;groupby=overall;orderby=runs;spanmax1=31+Dec+2009;spanmin1=01+Jan+2000;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting

    And of course, it was a subjective batting order. You will have a diff order as per your opinions.

    @loggerfloodles

    I think anyone will agree to it that as a batsman, Sachin & other modern ear batsmen have been analyzed and tested more thoroughly than Bradman. Other than the bodyline, what other special strategy do you recall that was used to test Bradman? So ur point isnt ok.

  • Harmony111 on September 9, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    @TheOnlyEmperor:

    Enough dear. You just keep on blabbering against Bradman as if you got a feud against him. Some of the points made by you are interesting and valid to an extent but still, the tone taken by you in some of your posts is very questionable. Pls don't try to prove Sachin's greatness over Bradman or any one else. The sun doesn't need to tell us that he is the brightest. Let Sachin finish his career first. There is a good chance that Sachin will end up with an avg of ~60. Then we can see how an avg of 99 in 52 compares vis-a-vis 60 in 180 tests. Over time we have seen Sachin overcoming the imposters. Once it was Anwar in ODI's, then Lara and then Ponting (who's lost steam at plenty). Sachin is peerless anyways in the ODIs. Let's see where his curve reaches.

    At the very least, try to use some positive words for Bradman in your posts. He definitely wasn't as bad a model as you paint his portrait to be.

  • BillyCC on September 9, 2010, 22:50 GMT

    jay57870, thanks for mentioning the article: http://www.cricinfo.com/nzvind2009/content/story/398076.htm. Hadlee said "We didn't see at that time and you cannot visualise 20 years down the track what the player is likely to do in the context of the history of the game. When you score as many runs as he has in Test and one-day cricket and score as many centuries and half centuries as he has done, it makes him arguably the greatest player ever in the history of the game. Statistics speak volumes of his contribution to Indian and world cricket. He is a phenomenal player". About Bradman/Tendulkar: "Well, Sir Donald Bradman has been regarded as the greatest player ever. He played just Test cricket. He hasn't played any other forms of the game. Clearly, that is understandable. But to see Sachin and other players actually adjust to different forms of the game and different conditions all around the world, even though the average is fractionally more than half of the Don's is itself incredible

  • BillyCC on September 9, 2010, 20:55 GMT

    TheOnlyEmperor, the point is simple, without a helmet, Bodyline becomes extremely difficult to play. In fact, trying to score off Bodyline with the fields set would also be extremely difficult. Is it so hard to give credit where it is due?

  • jay57870 on September 9, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    With all the name-calling (fools, apes, etc), this debate is sadly turning into a circus. One of the respondents called somebody a fool for naming Sachin the greatest. This information is meant to educate those who do not know that somebody: He is Sir Richard Hadlee - (1) One of the first great cricketers to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame for his contributions to cricket: one of the best bowling all-rounders in the 1973-1990 period; (2) He is from New Zealand, not Australia or India, and so can be expected to be objective in his views; (3) He is one of the select few authoritative figures featured in the Legends of Cricket videos on Bradman where he pays a special tribute to the Don. With these unquestionable credentials, Hadlee is widely regarded as a keen and balanced observer of the game. Please read his statement carefully (in my earlier post below) on Tendulkar and Bradman. It may be different from yours, but please respect it and engage in a civil debate. Thanks.

  • rajeevsingh on September 9, 2010, 14:47 GMT

    @Harmony111 Problem with people like you are that you are only interested with personal milestones and achievements and team performance can go to hell.May be you are a match fixer by profession.Why do people play cricket?To win the match for their team and country and not just for personal statistics.And please do not mislead people by posting wrong statistics on Ponting because he averages more than 60 during the period 2003 to 2009. Any patriotic sportsman would be proud to be in a winning team rather than scoring thousands of runs in a losing cause.Definitely it is not Sachin's fault that he has not won any world title but you may ask him today and even he admits that the most valuable thing missing in his long career is a world title.Look at Australia.They have players who don't care whether they score 99 every match but the paramount aim is whether they win the match. And Australia have won hands down for the last 20 years as no one else in the history of the game of cricket

  • AhmadSaleem on September 9, 2010, 12:44 GMT

    Maco and Waseem are considered as two best fast bowlers since 1950 and they are not separated by much but still, there was not even a single comment published on the articles written on them proving one above the other. Everyone was all praise for both of them so everyone remained on the point, admired their genius and didn't write any shit. But whenever it turns to batting all Sachin fans start making their hero look biggest of all. Either the article is written on Lara or Ponting, they always drag Sachin there. And now they are proving themselves fools by comparing him with Don.

  • longrun on September 9, 2010, 11:20 GMT

    If anyone seriously thinks that anyone is better than Donald Bradman then they have absolutely no idea. The only rival is Garfield Sobers, averaged 60 with the bat, could bowl pace and spin, and was an outstanding fielder. But as this article points out (did the emperor read it i wonder), Don's legend is about more than just cricket. Don is the only cricketer with claims to be the greatest sportsman, in any sport, that has ever lived. In cricket it's Bradman who's the best, then the rest can fight for second. Other sports have arguements over the best ever, Ali has frazier etc, Jordan has kareem and wilt etc, i'm sure babe ruth has someone (baseball, pfft), athletics has heaps, swimming heaps, soccer heaps, motor sport heaps other sports heaps. Ps. best horse ever is Phar Lap, but that's open for debate ...

  • natmastak_so-called on September 9, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    its well known that don liked & admired Sachin . & the fellow readers hav ensured that don too would have wondrered how easily Sachin hijacked article dedicated to himself . & when talking abt these two there is no need to bring mortals like lara,punter .

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 9, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    @BillyCC: People played without helmets for over 100 years of cricket, so the Don playing cricket helmetless was no big deal. Gavaskar faced many of the WI quicks without a helmet and he was puny! Now what was your point?

  • Harmony111 on September 9, 2010, 7:20 GMT

    @BillyCC

    Not sure you took my 1990s vs 00s batting avg point correctly. Can you pls post the query string used? My point was bout the average batting average, taken as an aggregate.

    Here are the query strings I used:

    1990: http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;groupby=overall;orderby=runs;spanmax1=31+Dec+1999;spanmin1=01+Jan+1990;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting

    2000: http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;groupby=overall;orderby=runs;spanmax1=31+Dec+2009;spanmin1=01+Jan+2000;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting

    And of course, it was a subjective batting order. You will have a diff order as per your opinions.

    @loggerfloodles

    I think anyone will agree to it that as a batsman, Sachin & other modern ear batsmen have been analyzed and tested more thoroughly than Bradman. Other than the bodyline, what other special strategy do you recall that was used to test Bradman? So ur point isnt ok.

  • Harmony111 on September 9, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    @TheOnlyEmperor:

    Enough dear. You just keep on blabbering against Bradman as if you got a feud against him. Some of the points made by you are interesting and valid to an extent but still, the tone taken by you in some of your posts is very questionable. Pls don't try to prove Sachin's greatness over Bradman or any one else. The sun doesn't need to tell us that he is the brightest. Let Sachin finish his career first. There is a good chance that Sachin will end up with an avg of ~60. Then we can see how an avg of 99 in 52 compares vis-a-vis 60 in 180 tests. Over time we have seen Sachin overcoming the imposters. Once it was Anwar in ODI's, then Lara and then Ponting (who's lost steam at plenty). Sachin is peerless anyways in the ODIs. Let's see where his curve reaches.

    At the very least, try to use some positive words for Bradman in your posts. He definitely wasn't as bad a model as you paint his portrait to be.

  • BillyCC on September 9, 2010, 6:00 GMT

    TheOnlyEmperor, you still haven't addressed the issue of helmets. If Bradman had a weakness against Bodyline and the fast rising short ball, it is not surprising. The most sensible thing you said was that everyone has their heroes. What is not acceptable is that you try and dictate to people that they are not allowed to believe that Bradman is the greatest. Just as with Tendulkar's Legends of Cricket article there was no one putting down Tendulkar and pushing Bradman's claims.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 9, 2010, 4:55 GMT

    contd.. Placing a person in a gallery of greats is fine. Grace, Don, SRT have all left their indelible mark on cricket in some way or the other. Putting somebody in such a gallery on a higher pedestal is simply immaturity and when that happens, somebody needs to be put down so that somebody is seen to stand taller. We have seen that happen in this article and comments. It's not the fault of Don that somebody is doing that for him nor Sachin's either. Notice, the truly greats never strut around about their greatness, even Richards! It's the lesser mortals who fight for their God and make thier God superior to the other Gods. I thought I would write all this to let people know that even the Don can be knocked off from any false pedestal created by others. So let's not play the game of the "greatest". That's the domain of authors and the media to sell their stories. Let's not reduce our heroes to that! Ok?

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 9, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    ... contd. And when I say that, I mean the need to play a different role in different innings in different formats of the game against different bowlers in different pitches depending on the team situation, not to mention the need to drasticcally accelerate or slow down as needed. This is not about skill but mental adjustment. Don was not fully tested in that area, but that's not his fault! SRT's has changed his game with time, dropping a few shots and adding many newer shots in the book. Let's face it...Don admired him as he did no other. The Don also saw how the game's demands on a player had changed, given the number of games and the different formats. Sachin played for a team which was seldom in the top 3 until now. Even Sehwag said, that he took up cricket only because of Sachin. I'm sure others did too on seeing Don. Yes, Don's a hero just as Sachin is a hero. People may have their preferences while ok, but that's ok. Each to his own. contd...

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 9, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    Going by the ridiculous tenor of the argument presented against Sachin in favor of the Don by some here, it then leads to reason that the Don wasn't much of a player having scored only 6 sixes in 52 tests! Then there's the endorsement method where people have dug up quotes including Gideon to justify a guy's greatness. But then the English captain also called Bradman "yellow". So, let's not play the "quote" game. There's enough evidence to show that Don was weak against the "leg trap" as well as the "fast rising short ball". These are 2 big weaknesses and any team of standing today will know how to exploit it. Ponting incidentally also plays the pull to counter the short rising fast ball like the Don. He's also susceptible to spin in bowler favorable tracks like the Don. A pull shot is seen today as a high risk shot and is seldom advocated. The Don's CONSTANT improvisation capability were never tested. contd..

  • BillyCC on September 9, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    Harmony111, thanks for your last post which actually talks a bit about Bradman. I didn't see it until much later in the day so apologies for that. Not sure whether I agree with your order and you may have left out some greats but no matter. And yes, this article is about Bradman, no one else. I would have been happy just to post my original comment which was only about Bradman and leave it at that. However, some people choose to make this forum a Don vs Sachin debate and so we have a case of people having to defend against this.

  • alatar01 on September 9, 2010, 3:09 GMT

    Great article Gideon, evocative of what Bradman represented as a public figure to the masses during the truly dark times of the Great Depression and in post War rebuilding. His high average speaks of a consistency that is unmatched, offering a reliability of spectacle to his audiences who could turn out with high expectations of seeing something special. Those questioning his test credentials need look no further than his first class average where he would be fronting up against Miller (Vic), Grimmett (SA) and Lindwall (Queensland) -some pretty decent bowlers there.On the same basis you really have to take your hat off to Viv Richards standing up to his own bowlers in the local competition. With regards to conditions - playing on unsealed pitches would create a huge variability to any playing surface -basically a lottery of how the ball what do needing lightning quick reflexes to adjust and adapt. Why has this thread been hijacked so heavily? Do Tendulkar posters even read the articles

  • loggerfloodles on September 9, 2010, 1:40 GMT

    I wonder if, in twenty years, people will be laughing at anyone who claims Tendulkar was the best ever, considering he never faced the feared Kenyan pace attack, never had to cope with Irish bowlers swinging the ball around corners on Scottish mud-pitches, made tons of runs when Bangladesh were simply minnows and couldn't compare to how they are these days, cricket powerhouses, second only to the Chinese, who weren't even playing cricket back when SRT played. But I think it's unlikely that anyone in the future will be able to legitimately claim the Greatest Ever tag without having to fight off Bradman for the title.

  • BillyCC on September 8, 2010, 22:15 GMT

    Harmony111, yes you've made your points about Ponting vs Lara vs Tendulkar vs Kallis vs Jayawardena. Interesting points, I agree. Incidentally, had a look at your aggregate batting average of the 90s vs 00s. In the 1990s, the top 6 batsman averaged around 3 runs less than in the 2000s. I don't vehemently agree or disagree with you theories, but since this is a forum about Bradman, maybe spend more of time commenting only on him, and less time comparing modern batsman. I noticed you made a point earlier on the forum about Nadal and Federer. The way to judge those careers is when they have both finished, and even then that will be difficult unless Nadal manages to win many more Slams than Fed. And I also noticed you said I "fell" for the Thompson story. Actually, I heard Thompson speaking about it when he was guest commentating on Australian radio once for the ABC. You can only take a man for what he says. Sure he may have exaggerated; in fact he better have, otherwise it is amazing.

  • Harmony111 on September 8, 2010, 22:08 GMT

    Anyways, enough has been said. My stand, for the record, is that Bradman definitely is way way above anyone else who has played cricket (and not just batted) and it would be unfair to say the Sachin is a greater batsman than Bradman. Sachin needs to do a lot more before he can claim that throne and the gap is just too much. But Sachin has a better record than anyone else and that includes Richards, Lara, Sehwag, Ponting, Kallis or the oldies like Hammond, Sutcliffe, Hobbs, Weekes or any other wannabe.

    Like Steve Waugh once said, "Take away the Don and he is the best".

    This article was about Sir Donald Bradman. Some petty posters reduced it to Don vs Sachin and then further to Sachin vs Ponting. One chap even tried to make it Sachin vs Aamer, huh.

    Don>>>>>>Sachin (or any one else). Sachin~Richards~>Lara~>Sehwag~>Gilchrist>Hayden>Ponting~>Kallis (....ad nauseum).

    Legend: 1. ">" means "Greater Than" (The more the '>' used, the greater 'the greater than'). 2. "~" means "Similar To".

  • Harmony111 on September 8, 2010, 21:31 GMT

    @MartinAmber:

    It's not that they play ODI on a diff planet. They play all of it right there, on those same grounds, same audience, and more or less with & against the same team compositions. If people can make a reference to the breakages in Bradman's career due to the WW's and the Great Depression, surely it's even more logical for one to include Sachin's ODI record.

    Going by your like-for-like logic, Bradman played only against 4 nations and only in Aus & Eng. So shall we ignore a player's performance against other teams and consider just these things? What bout other aspects? Bowler's exp, pitches, umpiring, traveling; what not!!!

    On what grounds do you say that Sachin's 200 pales against Richards 189? Don't think I am suggesting that the 200 was a greater knock than the 189, I just want to know your basis. Then I will show you how scoring 189 in that match wasn't a big deal. See, when one talks too much about the context, anything can be shown to be easy or diff as one may wish.

  • Harmony111 on September 8, 2010, 21:05 GMT

    Dear Mr. AhmadSaleem, what's your problem? What one wrong adjective did I use to describe the Pakistani team? Find me one.

    You spoke as if it's a sin for Sachin to get out early and that he gets out deliberately sometimes just to make a show or when the bowling's too great. I admire Mohd. Aamer and thought he had a great future till he supposedly did what he is accused of doing. Wasim Akram didn't play in the 1996 Bangalore QF match against India. Why? Cold feet? Fatigue? Injury? Who knows?

    Pls do not accuse me of starting a new debate here. It's you who is trying to do so.

  • Harmony111 on September 8, 2010, 20:30 GMT

    For the info of everyone, the decade of 90s was the decade with the least aggregate batting average in the last 50 years, 2000s was the highest IIRC (one can use statsguru anyways to verify it). Sachin averaged consistently in the high 50s during that time. And as for Ponting, even after having a dream run of a decade as per some people, he still lags behind Sachin by quite a margin. Add to it the time Sachin lost due to a spate of injuries at a time when batsmen around the world were filling their coffers, you will get an idea about the gap that exists between Sachin & Ponting.

  • MartinAmber on September 8, 2010, 20:20 GMT

    @TheOnlyEmperor: clearly the 200* in an ODI isn't my "biggest argument against SRT while supporting the Don." I used it to show why this innings doesn't belong in any greatness argument, because it's about as relevant as Lara's 400* on a flat pitch in St. John's. That is, it's a statistical feat and NOTHING more. It pales next to Viv's 189* because of context. I can't believe I'm repeating myself; this thread has got even worse since my earlier comments. I didn't regard this as an argument. I regarded it as a piece about indisputably the greatest-ever batsman that has been shamefully hijacked by the usual, boring SRT fanaticism. I'll take historical perspective every time thanks. You can only make a case for SRT by bringing in ODIs, and that's not a like-for-like comparison. I was actually quite generous in suggesting that Tendulkar may have won the argument re the modern era, but frankly I don't know why I bothered. Purely personally, I'd sooner watch Lara every time.

  • AhmadSaleem on September 8, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    @Harmony111: Dont throw hard words at Pakistani cricket team. Tendulkar's India was thrashed by same low class team last time he played against them and the same great Tendulkar got out in the 4th over of inning by that fixer Mohammad Aamer to leave his team in state of misery. Now please dont start another debate here because really its hard to debate against people like you.

  • AhmadSaleem on September 8, 2010, 18:35 GMT

    @rajeevsingh: Spot on mate. Even he is not greatest Indian batsman. It was Sunil Gavaskar who had better technique and temperament and he was among very few i.e 3 or 4 batsmen to average more than 50 in late 70s and 80s(the golden era of fast bowling)

  • Harmony111 on September 8, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    If Ponting gets credit for the world cup wins, what about the debits for 2 Ashes losses? Series loss in India, what bout that? Losing a test at Perth? Losing to SA at home? Getting beaten by a ultra low class, non-playing, full of spot fixing, inexperienced Pakistan team (that too in England)? Why couldn't Ponting win the first World T20? Why did it take them so long to win the Champions Trophy? Why couldn't Ponting help KKR to win the IPL?

    You see, a player can only perform to his potential, results of the match depend on several other factors. In Ponting's case, he has been helped (or let down occasionally) by his team-mates. But in Sachin's case, almost always, all the other factors have been out of favor. A smart catch, a small cameo of 25 runs, confident & strong bowling, not raining; something like this and things would have been very diff.

  • Harmony111 on September 8, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    RajeevSingh and NeutralFan really need to know a bit more about stats and trends. Kallis & Jayawardena compare quite favourably with Ponting in 2000s, even Dravid comes close (but not quite). Question is, Why this random 10 year window? Why not a 2 year window or 4 year window, huh?

    For 2006-2010:

    Ponting: Mat Inns Runs Ave 100 50 41 72 3234 46.86 8 18

    Sachin: Mat Inns Runs Ave 100 50 37 65 3368 58.06 13 15

    For the 4 years of this entire illusory decade of Ponting outscoring Sachin & anyone else, Sachin absolutely thrashes him (with one hand). He has played less test matches/innings and scored more runs at a significantly higher avg. than Ponting. So that is minus 4 years from the so called Ponting's decade. And this was Ponting's best time, we are not even talking bout Sachin vs Ponting in the 90s, that was when Sachin was averaging (as always) in higher 50s (and was one of the few) but Ponting was an ordinary batsman (like today) averaging in late 40s.

  • Harmony111 on September 8, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    RajeevSingh and NeutralFan really need to know a bit more about stats and trends. Kallis & Jayawardena compare quite favourably with Ponting in 2000s, even Dravid comes close (but not quite). Question is, Why this random 10 year window? Why not a 2 year window or 4 year window, huh?

    For 2006-2010:

    Ponting: Mat Inns Runs Ave 100 50 41 72 3234 46.86 8 18

    Sachin: Mat Inns Runs Ave 100 50 37 65 3368 58.06 13 15

    For the 4 years of this entire illusory decade of Ponting outscoring Sachin & anyone else, Sachin absolutely thrashes him (with one hand). He has played less test matches/innings and scored more runs at a significantly higher avg. than Ponting. So that is minus 4 years from the so called Ponting's decade. And this was Ponting's best time, we are not even talking bout Sachin vs Ponting in the 90s, that was when Sachin was averaging (as always) in higher 50s (and was one of the few) but Ponting was an ordinary batsman (like today) averaging in late 40s.

  • Harmony111 on September 8, 2010, 16:58 GMT

    RajeevSingh and NeutralFan really need to know a bit more about stats and trends. Kallis & Jayawardena compare quite favourably with Ponting in 2000s, even Dravid comes close (but not quite). Question is, Why this random 10 year window? Why not a 2 year window or 4 year window, huh?

  • Harmony111 on September 8, 2010, 16:34 GMT

    As for Ponting's run from 2003-2009 by RajeevSingh, he needs to use statsguru to see that his purple time actually started from 2000 and lasted till 2007. Now wait a min. When did the Aussie juggernaut start? It overlaps this 2000-2007 period almost perfectly. And who retired around this time? Warne, McGrath, Hayden, Gilchrist & Martin. So it seems that Ponting made hay while there was sunshine and now struggles at moonlighting. For most of his time, Sachin had a team much poorer than even the current Aussie team and then people try to dismiss his achievements.

    How Obnoxious !

  • Harmony111 on September 8, 2010, 16:23 GMT

    Quite amusing to read some of the points. Someone said that Sachin isn't even the greatest of his era bcos he doesn't have most double hundreds and the highest individual score, even among Indians. Well, what he has is beyond anyone else and as for the ones that he doesn't have, some he could break any day. And suppose he did have max double & triple hundreds and the highest indiv. score in tests then what? Then some ppl will startl saying that he doesn't have the record of max 50's, max hundred partnerships, highest partnership record, max 4's, max 6's, max 4's of backfoot, max 6's against spinners, fastest 50/100 and so on.

    Refusing to recognize the record of Sachin (even if just to push the Don above him) is day-blindness.

    Someone said that Ponting is a batsman + a fielder, well Sachin is a batsman + a bowler, now what? Has Ponting ever won a ODI/Test on just his fielding? Sachin has done that more than once.

  • Kaze on September 8, 2010, 16:05 GMT

    @_NEUTRAL_Fan_ Spot on :) For me Sachin isn't in the same class as Lara or Ponting and both Lara and Ponting aren't in the same class as Gavaskar, Greg Chappell, Richards or Sobers. Then you have Hutton, Headley, Hammond, Compton and the like who have been rated higher than the previous lot. Then you have Bradman being rated above that lot so I would say Sachin is quite a few pegs below Bradman.

  • Harmony111 on September 8, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    This is getting rather bitter now folks.

    @rajeevsingh: World Cup isn't a personal title like Wimbledon that Sachin can win just on his own. To accuse Sachin of being selfish really shows your shallow understanding of a team game. Tell me, when Sachin is batting out there, does he know whether India will win or not? He can only do to max what he can. To mitigate various performances of Sachin to other factors is silly and moreover, this is seemingly done only for Sachin. Any performance can be diluted by this logic. Has Ponting played even one truly remarkable innings in either ODIs or Tests? What? The world Cup Final hundred? Well, It was a batting paradise, Hayden/Gilly gave a solid opening to Australia, Ponting got good support form Martin, Indian bowlers were nervous, Bhajji was carrying an injury IIRC, It was a smallish ground.

    I am not saying that this hundred was a easy thing for Ponting, just that if one looks otherwise, any performance can be reduced to typicality.

  • India_boy on September 8, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    continued... and that it is the capability and greatness of the player that has allowed him to play for 20+ years and these many matches,not just play but being revered by his fans....u dont get to play so many matches if u r not the best. and that Sachin was a boy wonder when he started, people thronged to the stadiums in UK to see a 17 year old score a match saving hundred and that people still throng to the stadium when hes 37 years old...dude this fact makes all of u look like suckers!!! and that ponting was caught using aluminium in his bat, he is still playing when he shud have been shipped to some other country as a prisoner, just like his ancestors! and that....I dont have a problem in calling bradman the best in his era and sachin the best ever after that...but calling bradman the best in the world, in the universe, on evry other planet , sun, star, meteor, asteroid, is a bit too much :)

  • India_boy on September 8, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    right from my first comment, i have been insisting that Don's fans are completely lost in the illusion of statistics...they think that 99+ avrg is the only criteria to label a batsman the best ever to have walked mother earth! what they forget is : that don played in the team of invincibles...Sachin played in the team of match fixers and losers(like azhar, prabhakar etc.) who were hell bent on India losing the match. that Sehwag has played when Sachin,Ganguly, Dravid, Lax were there, the golden age of Indian batting...so he had no pressure, but Sachin...his teammates??? azhar in dying form, manjrekar,kambli,sidhu,mongia etc...he carried the team on his shoulders like the Atlas...for close to 15 years... that he has played for 20 years, and after evrry 2-3 years he is said to have entered his golden age of batting and that he is the highest run scorer in 2010,21 years after making his debut....and that teams still resign to their fate that sachin will get out when he has to....COME ON!

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on September 8, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    lol @ TheOnlyEmperor. No-1 with real knowledge of the game will ever put longevity over consistency. Sachin's "untouchable" records are his mainly because he had the opportunity to play so much cricket and as a batsman only. If u go to the stats section, he isn't #1 for conversion rate, he isn't #1 for SR, he isn't #1 for avg, he isn't #1 for double or triple hundreds and thats just among his peers! For an entire decade, Ricky Ponting even managed to outscore him in all forms of the game, whether or not Ponting is better is too close to call for me yet, he too may just have a revival towards the end of his career. Bottom line is, Bradman is by far #1 in conversion rate and avg. which carries much more weight than how many runs or 100's u get since it relies too much on how many matches u get to play. Suppose Ponting n Lara got to debut at 16, they could well be close if not surpassing Sachin. No-1 who is objective will ever find cumulative runs better than avg over >=30+ tests.

  • rajeevsingh on September 8, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    On top of it, Ponting is the heaviest scorer than any batsman in test matches from 2003 till 2009. Wonder if any present cricketer comes even close to Ponting's record in a dual role both as captain and batsman.You just cannot disregard obvious facts and figures. It is just a case of Indians supporting an Indian player. Tendulkar was a disaster as captain and even in batting Ponting has a better test average than Tendulkar even though he had a poor 2010.And please note that Ponting did not get to play many test matches against rubbish teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe which our great Sachin Tendulkar got to play every other year. If he had got those chances, Ponting might have been level with Sachin on both runs on both runs and centuries. Some fool has even said that on both runs and centuries. Some fool has even said that Tendulkar is better than Bradman. Well, Bradman averaged almost twice more than Tendulkar. So even after this,if Tendulkar is best, then let the fool be happy.

  • rajeevsingh on September 8, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    To say that Sachin has not won a world title in 20 odd years in international cricket, which by the way is also a record then why are everyone hell bent on proving that Sachin is the best or greatest. Ponting not only is a great in regards to being a player and captain but also he has won so many series and titles. It clearly shows that we Indians are interested only on personal milestones and not on team accomplishments. Tendulkar has all these records to show only because he has been allowed to play for more than 20 years by the Indian cricket board who are simply scared to drop him even when he was in awful form couple of years ago. There is one set of rules for Tendulkar and another set of rules for upcoming young Indian players. When the young players fail even once they are out of the team but Tendulkar is there forever. Tendulkar should also be remembered for being the most selfish players in history as he has blocked so many young players careers.

  • rajeevsingh on September 8, 2010, 12:14 GMT

    One critical area that should be examined, is the World Cup. Here, where the pressure really counts, Ponting blows every other captain away in the history of the game. He has captained 22 matches and won 22 matches. That is incredible and impossible. No player will ever break the record of Ponting as captain at the world cup. That's not a single loss and guess what? Not a single one of those matches was played in Australia. For a complete analysis, let's turn our attention to one day cricket. Tendulkar as a captain has won 23 and lost 42 ODI's, Lara 59/59. Now look at Ponting's record of 148 wins to 41 losses. Ponting, over some 202 ODI's has won 74.23% of matches. In the history of the game only Clive Lloyd has had greater success and he captained less than half the matches of Ponting. To top it off, Ponting is one of the greatest fielders ever to play the game. His ability of hitting the stumps is second to none.

  • Godfather007 on September 8, 2010, 11:59 GMT

    gr8_sachin_fan contrary to his name thinks Sehwag is the greatest Indian batsman.Dude do you seriously watch cricket.The questions which u have raised against Sachin just do the same against Sehwag & see the positives you get.

  • rajeevsingh on September 8, 2010, 11:59 GMT

    @TheonlyEmperor. You are hell bent on making Tendulkar the greatest but sorry there is no chance in hell for that. Don Bradman takes the cake in that regard and it does not matter whether you write a million columns about Tendulkar. In fact even though I am an Indian, I don't see Tendulkar being the greatest even today. He might have had 1 or 2 fine seasons here or there but I would consider Ponting as the best from 2003 till 2009. 2010 has not been a good year for Ponting but no one should forget that he has got added responsibility of being captain of Australia on his shoulders and he is also the most brilliant fielder. Does Mr. Emperor know that Tendulkar was a monumental disaster as captain of India. Ponting has a record which cannot be beaten ever. 3 world cups (1 final in 1996), 2 Champions Trophy, one day series victories against all nations and test victories against every nation, home and away.And compared to Ponting, Tendulkar has not even a single World title.

  • Godfather007 on September 8, 2010, 11:52 GMT

    @BillyCC:Surely must be a having a hard time out there.But im sure your'e enjoying it.Regarding your views about Legends of Cricket article on Sachin & I disrespecting Sir Don,the simple thing is when different writers & readers claim Don,the greatest ever it is just ridiculous & unfair on the part of Sachin who I think has done enough to be claimed as the greatest ever & is still going strong at the age of 37+.I am not saying Sachin pips Bradman in every department but if you consider all the parameters then in totality Sachin is greater than Bradman.Also please explain this "its hard to debate against people like you".

  • on September 8, 2010, 10:11 GMT

    If Bradman is just another great then what are his contemporaries like Hammond, Hobbs, Headley, Suttcliffe? Just average I guess! And it's amusing that people have the gumption to call Don's admirers fanatics. *shrugs*

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 8, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    @whippersnapper : "The Don is the greatest. The end."

    Did the Don call himself the greatest? He would never have dared after what happened to Mohammad Ali! Let him be at peace. Calling him a great is enough of a tribute to a man who was a legend in his time.

    @ Don's fan(atics): If you still want to push it, then answer me this... Read my posts and tell us all what is Don's legacy to international cricket and Aussie cricket. Benchmark your responses to that of SRT's legacy, so that we all know that the "greatness level" measures up to that of SRT.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 8, 2010, 8:24 GMT

    @Neutral Fan: "BUT NONE EVER CAME CLOSE to AVG. 99". Just as nobody is even remotely close to Sachin's number of international centuries spanning different grounds, different countries, different formats, different teams, day-night conditions, bilaterals/trilaterals/worldcups, spanning 2 decades. The 200 in ODI was like the 4min-mile milestone which Roger Bannister broke. Many may cross the 200 mark in the future, but nobody has yet done it in some 3000 odd ODIs and counting other than Sachin. That's the difference between being almost there and being there. Don didn't cross the finish line at 100 despite the chance provided to him in the last series after wallopping India earlier in the year. His 99 was a great one for his times, but it's just that. It's anachronistic and irrelevant when talking of today's greats. Don can at best be called an "also great". That's how people CAN react to the Don's achievements when things aren't put in perspective while comparing!

  • BillyCC on September 8, 2010, 8:11 GMT

    TheOnlyEmperor, sorry that you feel that way about history. I can't argue with unreasonable people, so I won't try. To say "big deal" with sarcasm to the topics of World War 1 and 2 and the Great Depression shows how little you know about life, not just cricket. The points you make about pressure are useless and I can't believe you unnecessarily brought up the Sri Lankan terrorist incident in this argument, which was so sad, shocking and unexpected. Show some respect, this is a forum where fans can pay tribute to Bradman, which most of the people in the forum have done.

  • whippersnapper on September 8, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    The Don is the greatest. The end.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on September 8, 2010, 6:41 GMT

    @TheOnlyEmperor. Viv Richards 189*, Saeed Anwar 194 and Charles Coventry 190+ were all close to 200. Who was close to Bradman's 99+ avg over 50+ tests, compounded by 95 avg. over 200+ FC matches? Sachin is great, Ponting is great, Sanga is great, Lara is great, Viv Richards is great, Sunny is great, Pollock is great, Miandad is great,Sobers is great, Headly is great BUT NONE EVER CAME CLOSE to AVG. 99, None scored 100's or dbles as often and none scored 300 IN A DAY. I will yell at u till u stop lying to u'rself! Get a grip! If u do, I guarantee u will enjoy the game more. Cricket is a lovely sport, it is not some do or die war. Bradman was the greatest bat. So what if he didn't come from our countries? Is that such a terrible thing to digest? What is going through u'r minds?

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 8, 2010, 6:36 GMT

    @BillyCC : "People forget that Bradman played cricket in the world's darkest period. That's what you get when you have the Great Depression and World War 2, and your childhood is dominated by World War 1."

    Big deal! Some players these days are known terrorist targets and have to move around with security, even when not playing cricket. The SL team had to face bullets flying around in their team bus. So, let's not even get there!

    "So when people talk about modern day pressure, media scrutiny," You would never know about a country's pressure on you to perform everytime you go the field unless you are the Brazil national soccer team or SRT. Do you know tons of people in India switch of the TV when SRT gets out? It was SRT who made cricket big bucks in India today and consequently worldwide. No Aussie team leave alone individual has been able to make cricket the number one sport in Aus, in terms of money or fanatical fan following. So, what's Don legacy really?

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 8, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    @Martin Amber : "Tendulkar's 200* in an ODI at a non-Test ground" The 200 was scored at a ground where ODIs have been played since 1988 and the 12th match there. If this is your biggest argument against SRT while supporting Don, then it's a poor attempt. Shall we focus instead on how the Don struggled to face the fast short rising ball instead? With such a weakness in the modern era, how much do you think the Don's average would have been in Test and ODI cricket? Do you still think he would have been twice the batsman as Greg Chappell with let's say Roberts, Holding, Marshall, Ambrose, Imran, Waqar, Wasim, Hadlee, Shoaib, Pollock, Donald, Stein, etc bowling at him any time over the past 30 years had he played 20 years of test and ODI cricket? ( NB: There's not a single English bowler in my list!) Be honest guys, don't wear blinkers! :P

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 8, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    What is Don's single biggest achievement in cricket? I would say that Sachin being the first mortal to score 200 in an ODI in 39 years of ODI cricket in the 2962nd ODI match ever played after the age of 36, after playing 19 years of cricket, against a top team like SA, is an absolute standout! If you guys say Don's 99 avg is his achievement, I would say it pales against Sachin's 90+ international centuries in 600+ matches! Wow! That's some capacity to play for a country over 20 years when there is always talent wanting to get into the team in a country of a 1.2 billion people. And for the record, if you were to somehow transplant Kallis into Don's shoes and get Kallis to play all those very teams which Don played, then Kaliis would be at a 100+ avg! Easy! Grace was a legend in his era, Don in his as Sachin is in his. Saying that the Don is the greatest ever or the "bestest" that ever was, is stupid and resembles the conversation between a set of 5 year olds! End of story!

  • gr8_sachin_fan on September 8, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    @India_boy: Its fans like u who let Sachin Tendulkar down and make him be ridiculed by regular cricket fans. So, does Tendulkar have the highest avg among the batsmen in his generation? He has played the greatest number of tests than anyone else, so has he scored the highest number of double centuries in his generation? Has he even scored the highest number of double centuries by an Indian Batsmen? Does he have the highest individual test score of his generation? or for India? How many triple centuries has he scored? Forget the statistics, which bowler today fears bowling to Tendulkar? Many have claimed the fear of Sehwag though.. Let alone any fan saying tendulkar to be best ever batsman in the world, I refuse to accept he is even the best Test batsman ever for India. That honour goes to Virendra Sehwag. And I bet you, no Sehwag fan ever needs to argue his case on such forums. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Sachin fans...

  • Jim1207 on September 8, 2010, 2:58 GMT

    People who look at bad things of this debate should look at good things and learn something. In any debate, fanatics would come up and bash each other, why still make a fuss about it and make them do that over and over? Thanks to Paulk for a good question and people who answered intelligently. I also was thinking myself as a close follower of many sports, but I just get to know much about Dhyan Chand and Jahangir Khan who were as great as Don in cricket. It has turned out to be a very good debate to learn something, thanks to you guys!

  • Hammond on September 8, 2010, 1:21 GMT

    This debate is simple. Would ANY modern batsman go out and face Larwood & Voce, no helmet, no arm guard, on an uncovered wicket, play fast leg theory (6 balls out of 8 directed at your face with a packed leg side field) and average better than the best current batsman? Larwood was easily 95mph and with the old back foot bowling rule was a foot closer to the batsman when he delivered the ball. Bradman played on pitches that would probably be deemed unsafe these days. No helmet. With a bat that weighed no more than 2 pound 4 ounces. I love watching modern cricket but people get a grip. This man was averaging near a hundred on pitches that modern cricketers wouldn't even dream of batting on. It's an unconfortable fact to the modern blinkered fan but a true one. The Don would have thought every modern pitch an absolute road. It's funny these days watching teams crumble when the ball moves around even a bit. The Don saw much, much worse. And averaged near 100. Think about it.

  • aftabk on September 8, 2010, 0:21 GMT

    How can you even think of comparing Don to any other batsman. I would not even bring in names like Sobers, G. Pollock, Hutton. Did you know that Bradman did not play cricket during his prime years because of the war and because he was very seriously ill, that is about 6 years when he was in his prime. England had to have a meeting with their captain Jardine, the fast bowling trio and the selectors to figure out how to stop this run making machine from scoring so many runs. Those of you who dont know much about him should read his biography and you will realize that their is no comparison. to anyn batsman of any era, period!

  • BillyCC on September 7, 2010, 21:33 GMT

    TheOnlyEmperor, of course one (Bodyline) was life threatening. Have you ever batted without a helmet and facing pace bowlers bowling over 120km/h (I'm sure Larwood bowled faster), coming in around the wicket bowling at the chest and head? I wouldn't even want to. There are only three scoring shots you can play: the tickle to fine leg, the hook and a restricted pull shot. And yet Bradman still managed to score runs. Good to see that you haven't acknowledged your mistake on Bradman's average of 89 against England. And in terms of your theory of Bradman in India or Bradman vs Murali, I don't know how he would perform but Bradman was not bad against spin. Not sure whether the SCG had some India-like characteristics in those days but if it did, then Bradman would have done all right in India since he did well at the SCG.

  • BillyCC on September 7, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    Godfather007, have a look at the comments I posted last time in response to yours (I think it was the God vs Don forum). I countered every single one at the time, and have countered all those you brought up just then. Of course it isn't Sachin's fault that he did all those things. And I don't think he has an easy life. It's hard to debate against people like you but I will continue to defend Bradman especially against people who always try and put him down in articles such as this. Interesting that you didn't comment on my point that no one seemed to have trashed Tendulkar's Legends of Cricket article with stories and facts about Bradman in every second or third comment.

  • PrinceofPortofSpain on September 7, 2010, 20:04 GMT

    No other batsman will ever score 7,000 Test runs, ave. 99.94 and score 27,000 First Class runs, ave.95.15. Brian Lara scored 9 Double centuries in Tests, second to The Don,12, he was the second double world record holder after The Don and he was the second batsman to score two Test Trpples or more after The Don. This makes him the second best Test batsman. Thank You.

  • jay57870 on September 7, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    History, like beauty, is in the eye of the writer, the beholder. Gideon, you were doing OK until you raised Tendulkar's name in reference to Bradman's 'uniqueness.' Comparing heroes from different eras is futile. Now it's fair game: Listen to other authoritative viewpoints. The Hall of Famer Sir Richard Hadlee said this about Sachin: "When you score as many runs as he has in Test & 1-day cricket and score as many centuries & half centuries ... it makes him arguably the greatest player ever in the history of the game ... Well, Sir Donald Bradman has been regarded as the greatest player ever. He played just Test cricket. He hasn't played any other forms of the game. Clearly that's understandable. But to see Sachin & other players actually adjust to different forms of the game and different conditions all around the world, even though the average is fractionally more than half of the Don's is in itself incredible. You got to respect it." Yes, respect it. We now have two beautiful heroes.

  • Godfather007 on September 7, 2010, 18:28 GMT

    @Kaze:Why r u bringing the Laras & the Headleys into this forum when it is the battle of the biggies i.e. GOD v DON.All the readers please make a note the_blue_android is the most "intelligent" reader ever.

  • sonjjay on September 7, 2010, 17:16 GMT

    I would like to request some of my fellow Indian fans not to bring up Sachin in almost every article around.Tendulkar is great batsman but the article is about Sir Don. I must say u will never see many aussie fans coming over to other articles and talking about Ricky or Border, most of them barring a few truly appericiate skill. If people go on a Tendulkar bashing rampage all over its only coz some of our fans are insensible.Anyways it was nice to read the article since i never got to watch sir don bat, its a delight to know more about him through such articles...

  • Kaze on September 7, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    I find it ridiculous that people should try to push Tendulkar into a Bradman article. Tendullkar hasn't earned the right to stand next to the Don, Sobers or Headley, he isn't even as good as Lara so please cut the crap. There is no comparison whatsoever that you can use to put Sachin on even keel with the Don, he won't even be half as close. The most damning stat is the Don's average of 95 from 234 matches with 117 centuries. But forget stats the most important is the time frame that these players lived. The Don's generation is known as the greatest generation ever having had to deal with a World War and Economic and Social chaos. Yet you have people with the gall to talk about "Sachin under pressure" how hilarious. If you have any professionalism then crowd pressure is the least of your worries. Your sole goal should be the team's objective and not what the crowd wants. At the end of the day Sachin can go home and live comfortably as a millionaire, he doesn't have to look for a job !

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on September 7, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    I agree with optimistix, now that I think of it, it seems as if some fanatics who try to downplay other greats, including Bradman seem to feel that the success of their heros is their success. IT IS NOT. Sachin's success is Sachin's success, Lara's success is Lara's success and Bradman's success is Bradman's. Our success is our success. Yea the players do represent their countries and so country men should be very proud but to go overboard every time some1 says well this player was greater (in Bradman's case it is just glaringly so) is a very weird way of thinking. Its as if persons are taking it personal. Billions upon billions of football fans love Pele and Maradonna and majority have never even been to Brazil or Argentina. It is not to say they want Brazil n Arg to beat their own team in a match. The same thing should be with any sport! So what if Don was an Aus n greater than my heros, why should that bother me? As a cricket lover, I accredit him If it bothers u, u have a problem.

  • India_boy on September 7, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    JUST ONE QUESTION TO ALL DON BRADMAN'S FANS(INCLUDING MYSELF): WOULD DON BRADMAN HAVE THE SAME AVERAGE OF 99+ IF HE PLAYED TODAY...JUST A SIMPLE YES OR NO. BUT IF SACHIN PLAYED IN THE 20s & 30s, HE WOULD EASILY HAVE AN AVERAGE OF 70+...SO THERE U GO AS FAR AS CONSISTENCY IS CONCERNED P.S: pls dont fret abt the capitals im typing in...

  • Godfather007 on September 7, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    @BillyCC:Reading all ur comments u've posted for this article I wonder u're a bit frustrated personality.Reading ur comments all it seems that cricket became an extremely easy sport in Sachin's era and he enjoyed all the luxuries while Bradman had to face all the difficulties in the world.And as TheOnlyEmperor rightly says that one has to look the kind of attack & the variety of pitches Bradman had to counter.He never played in the subcontinent against the best of spinners.So Sachin pips Bradman in this regard also.Also ur saying it isn't Bradman's fault that he played just 52 tests,similarly it isn't Sachin's fault that he's played over 600 internationals.Just have a look at the comments which I posted last time around regarding God v Don though the subject of the article was different.Your counter comments regarding this debate r pathetic & ur simply behaving like a Historian who was very much there when Bradman played his test cricket.

  • jay57870 on September 7, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    Finally, Gideon, it's funny you should say that Bradman's batting in a Test match was as "ennobling as to have watched Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium." Do you know what Ruth's opinion was about cricket? When the Babe met the Don on his cricket-promoting trip to North America in 1932, the American said: "You mean to tell me you don't have to run when you hit the ball?" Not exactly a friendly cup of tea, was it? Cricket and baseball resonate swimmingly with their audiences, only as long as they play the game in their own backyards. Beauty is altogether in the eye of the beholder. Even for historians. The debate is meaningless. And nobody has the final word.

  • jay57870 on September 7, 2010, 15:11 GMT

    TIME Magazine in 2010 named Tendulkar one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World." An excerpt from its citation: "Cricket casts the tiniest shadow on the American sports scene, but globally it stokes the fire in people's souls. Inherited from imperial England, the world's second most watched team sport has become a symbol of beating the colonials at their own game. Sports heroes such as Tendulkar, 37, stand for national dignity in a way that perhaps only a postcolonial nation can understand. And feel grateful for." And so Tendulkar's journey in the 1990s & 2000s is also about cultural primacy: helping Indian and world cricket rise in these turbulent times of terrorism, the Great Recession, and now match-fixing. He is as much of a "one-of-a-kind batsman" and a "one-of-a-kind-cricket hero" as the Don. Rather than pitch one versus the other, we should be celebrating both these heroes as "symbols of mastery over fate." And hope that the next hero who emerges is just as beautiful.

  • the_blue_android on September 7, 2010, 14:40 GMT

    All the people who claim the don is the greatest are no less idiotic than people who claim Sachin is the greatest.

  • AhmadSaleem on September 7, 2010, 14:22 GMT

    @paulk: Jahangir Khan also dominated professional squash like Don dominated cricket. He won straight 555 games during his peak which is a record for any professional sport. He is admitted by everyone to be the best squash player ever.

  • khurramlone on September 7, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    I dont think that its logical or reasonable to compare greats of one era to another. They can only be compared to their contemporaries. Having said that, Bradman is such an outlier in pure statistical terms that his position as the greatest batsman of all times cannot be challenged. I follow many other sports and I cannot find a single instance where there is such an enormous gap between the best ever and the rest. As for the people commenting about the quality of opposition to Bradman, these are some of the bowlers Bradman played against: Tate, Larwood, Verity, Bedser, Voce, Laker. He did not just play against these giants, he dominated them. The fact that he did it over a period of 20 years should tell you something. England had 20 years to find a solution to Bradman and they did not succeed. Finally, I cannot imagine a modern day batsman take a 7 year break from International Cricket and stage a successful comeback.

  • MartinAmber on September 7, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    Finally, there are the comments that fail even to acknowledge history. The prime example is TheOnlyEmperor's "captains were relatively dense, not readily adjusting field settings to the player batting." The single most famous example of this in cricket history was specifically designed to combat the unique ability of Don Bradman! Rational argument just can't win. Debate is impossible. One national newspaper, after Tendulkar's 200* in an ODI at a non-Test ground, asked "Is Sachin the greatest batsman of all-time?" 92% said yes. Not even Bradman would deserve such a majority. I pointed out how ludicrous this vote was and received the response "It should have been 97%." If Wisden ran its Five Cricketers of the Century poll now, Tendulkar might well depose Hobbs or Viv Richards, but no way would he receive 100 votes out of 100. Someone else still would, and rightly so.

  • MartinAmber on September 7, 2010, 12:09 GMT

    Here we have the greatest of modern cricket wrters, with a piece on the greatest of batsmen, and yet over half of the comments are about someone else. A shame. Sadly predictable, but still a shame. In 30 years I have derived joy from cricketers of all nations, and it takes a lot to undermine my generous spirit. But the one thing that always does so is arrogant Tendulkar fanaticism. Not content with the fact that his rejuvenation in the last few years has probably settled the argument in hs favour as regards Lara and Ponting in the modern era, the fanatics now think they can take on the all-time greatest. Abandoning the principle of like-for-like, they cite ODIs. Criticising Bradman's supporters for reliance on stats, they hypocritically cite the 200* in an ODI. Disregarding the value of an innings in context, they overlook the fact that this innings compares as unfavourably with Viv's 189* as, say, Lara's 400* does with Laxman's 281 at Kolkata.

  • BillyCC on September 7, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    At the moment, I feel sorry for Tendulkar who would be so ashamed to have fans such as India_boy and TheOnlyEmperor. I know Tendulkar had a lot of time for Bradman, he would be horrified to read posts made by people such as yourselves trying to smear Bradman's achievements and coming up with excuses as to why he doesn't deserve a title such as "great" or "greatest".

  • BillyCC on September 7, 2010, 11:37 GMT

    TheOnlyEmperor, I agree that Bradman's average was nothing extraordinary if you remove South Africa, India and West Indies. IT IS ABSOLUTELY OUT OF THIS WORLD: A WHOPPING 89.78. Sorry to burst your bubble there but you really do have to check the facts before making any of your points.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 7, 2010, 11:08 GMT

    @BillyCC : "One is dangerous and life threatening".

    Oh please! I don't think any set of England bowlers in any era, past, present or future can ever be deadlier than the ruthless WI speed batteries of the 70s! The English and their kind like to romanticise things and think of themselves as greatly competent. Look at the way they portray themselves in soccer and cricket. Their competence at the international level is a joke. The recent victory at the T20 WC will go down in English history books as a great historical event and an example of how they dominated the game of cricket! Ridiculous! Nasser Hussain didn't want to get creamed by SRT. The English got walloped the last time they were in India. Ponting's bowlers bowled way outside the offstump to SRT in Aus in the last 2 tours. Ponting's test average in India is a joke. How do you think the Don would have faired against Murali in SL or in India now? Anachronistic comparisons are odious and that was my point! Got it?

  • Harmony111 on September 7, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    It's getting funnier now. Just as the Sachin Fans are desperate to prove his greatness over Bradman and any one else, the Don's Fans too are making some very stupid points for Don's case. Someone's talking about Bradman facing Thompson at full blast even at the age of 70. And then someone saying that Bradman played golf like a champion aged 80. Well, I have never heard of it before and yet we have BillyCC falling for it just cos Hammong said it and Meety attested to it. What are their credentials?

    It's getting like those fancy old stories of Warriors who would carry their horse to the fort on shoulders when he got injured or those who used to kill thousands of enemies on their own. Just fancy pleasing stories about past warriors.

  • Optimistix on September 7, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    Sachin himself would happily agree that the Don was the best ever.

    All the people going on here, trying to prove that Sachin is better than Bradman - it looks like it is more about themselves, and the glory that they think that somehow becomes theirs via Sachin. Or maybe it's just blind love.

    Most of the "points" being made are ridiculous - Bradman's record "nothing extraordinary" if you remove all but England? Nonsense - he still averaged 89! All the changes in the playing conditions - some have made scoring harder, others have made it easier. Hard to say what he might have averaged, but harder yet to believe that it wouldn't have been way more than everyone else. Let's not forget that there were plenty of other great batsmen in his era, who averaged in the 50s.

    I love Sachin, but am not deluded enough to pretend that Lara and Ponting can't even be compared to him. Sachin is easily one of the greatest ever, but I am pretty sure he'll be the first to say he isn't better than the Don

  • India_boy on September 7, 2010, 9:19 GMT

    @TheOnlyEmperor....dude come on,reading ur comments people will think that its me typing with a different name...i made the exactly same points....these r the peoplewho are drowned in the info overload...they think that statistics are the ultimate...they fail to go beyond the numbers,into the realms of capability.... @Ian-Ghost....dude education might not be hard to come by in ur country...but KNOWLEDGE definitely is....

  • BillyCC on September 7, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    Finally, what is more absurd? The Don averaging 99 in today's conditions, or comparing Bodyline with Nasser Hussein's leg-side tactics against India. Oh please, that is the funniest and most way out there analogy I have ever heard. Why don't you ask Bill Woodfull which he would prefer? One is dangerous and life threatening, the other is simple to defend against. And Hammond and Neutralfan have already confirmed the Thompson story. It may be a miracle to you if you can't see how it happened, but it actually did.

  • BillyCC on September 7, 2010, 8:49 GMT

    Cont'd for TheOnlyEmperor: Yes I agree that the Don's average is nothing extraordinary if you remove SA, India, West Indies, IT IS ABSOLUTELY OUT OF THIS WORLD, A WHOPPING 89.78. Sorry to burst your reality there. Check your facts before you make any comments like that again. You also ask what is the Don's single biggest achievement to match Tendulkar's 200 and 100 100s. Here's 4 numbers for you: 99.94. That is his biggest achievement. I feel sorry for Tendulkar, at no time would I try and wish he would fail. He would be shocked to read this forum and see some of his unreasonable fans try and rubbish Bradman, whom he had so much time and respect for. And Kallis would be laughing and be flattered at your suggestion that he is the greatest batsman of all time. Also, it is not inconceivable that someone can average 100 today for a long period of time. Why? Because Bradman has proved that it can be done.

  • BillyCC on September 7, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    TheOnlyEmperor, none of your points make sense and many of your facts are wrong. Firstly, the more you play, the more difficult it is to maintain your average. Then why are there no players who come close to averaging 99 in their first 52 tests. The closest anyone comes is a touch over 60. And Kallis has never reached that pinnacle at any time during his career. You say the captains in that era were relatively dense? So does that mean Bradman was just so much smarter that he scored so many more runs? If so, why did he not teach his players to be smarter and why did they not all average 99? You also think Sehwag and Lara could score 600 against England. They can't even score that against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. I think you don't appreciate how hard it is to score a triple century, let alone try to double it. And why even bring up Kallis at all? You must compare Kallis with Sobers, not Bradman.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 7, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    Finally... The Don played 52 "International" matches and mostly against a team like England! SRT in contrast has played more than 600 international matches. Now which of you Don's fans are telling the world that the Don would have scored on an avg of 99 in today's conditions had be played 600+ matches? Because that's what you are doing when you compare the Don's avg with that of Sachin! Absolutely absurd! On another note... If Don was subjected to bodyline bowling that's no big deal. Nasser Hussain's England bowled way outside the stumps so that Sachin wouldn't wallop them and would eventually get him out when he chased the balls in sheer desperation to play cricket! I'm waiting to see the day when an inform Sehwag murders England to score 300 + in a day! On yet another note... If Don was twice the batsman as Greg Chappel when he was 70, he shd have been playing for Aus facing upto the WI greats! These are like the "Jesus' miracle stories"! What next?

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 7, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    Do you guys know that the Don's average is nothing extra-ordinary if you were to remove his performance against India, South Africa and the WI? Now, you will never ever hear and Aussi mention this, though you would hear them speak of SRT's centuries against the lesser teams, but once again never of Hayden's 380 against Zim. IMO, Sachin's 100 centuries would be far far greater achievement than the Don's 99 average, simply because of the different formats, the different grounds, the different countries, day-night conditions and the expectations of a billion Indians on him to perform and all of Aus probably willing him to fail, so that he is not seen to usurp the Don's Aussie given throne! And then what is the Don's single biggest achievement in comparison to SRT's 200 not out in ODI, the first mortal to have achieved that landmark after 40 years of ODI cricket after 2000+ games and that too after the age of 35 after 18 years of cricket?

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 7, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    I think Sehwag and Lara would have clobbbered England for 600 runs an innings in the Don's era! You don't have to go with me on this, but that's how ridiculous I think of the Aussie attempt to portray Don as the greatest ever. In fact, I think Kallis is the greatest in modern day cricket... the fact that his batting averages and runs go along with the fact that he is a regular bowler and a bigtime wicket taker for an allrounder!

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 7, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    I don't think much of Don's achievements relative to the standards today. His only opposition was predominantly Eng, which even today doeesn't qualify as anything remarkable. The other teams were like the equivalent of playing Netherlands or Ireland. And there were'nt neutral umpires. No pre match video analysis to figure out people's faults. Nobody bowling at 150kph+ at you. The captains were relatively dense, not readily adjusting field settings to the player batting. The Don played a small number of matches over 20 years, so not many bowlers got frequent opportunities to figure out a batsman. In comaparison, a player like Ponting has played some 500 odd matches in 15 years. The more you play, the more difficult it is to maintain averages. I think Kallis, would have out performed the Don had been playing in the Don's era. Comparing people of 2 eras is absolutely stupid and this is another attempt to restore an Aussie relic and make it relevant in 2010!

  • Harmony111 on September 7, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    Designating someone as the greatest ever is risky, even for someone as deserving as Bradman or Sachin. Federer was supposed to be the greatest ever (and he still is) but isn't Nadal catching up quick? Huh.

    Some comments made by Sachin Fans are extremely silly and incomprehensible. Sachin is a great player. It need not be asserted. He is one of the greatest ever. Perhaps the Top 5 of all times. But we can't compare finer than that. The only way to find the exact order among the Top 5 would be a direct play-off or may be some computer simulation (and one is impossible while the other one is likely not to be exhaustive).

    At the same time, those who are at the other end seem to be at fault too. They seem to ignore the plethora of records Sachin holds and point out the ones that he doesn't. They also don't count BNG & ZIM (and for some and even SL, NZ & WI) cos these are weak teams. Well, IND, WI & RSA were noob's when Bradman played but it isn't held against him. Funny isn't?

  • ironmonkey on September 7, 2010, 2:08 GMT

    No one else seems to have mentioned this, so I thought I would - One of the most important, and most endearing moments in his career was his choice to go to England after the World War, IMHO.

    He had been invalided out of the army, and suffered ill health for a long period of time during the war - however, he knew what it meant to the people of England, and made an important political and social gesture in agreeing to play at the age of almost 40.

    He may have been an "English Schoolboy", but he showed none of the arrogance that seems to typify such people.

  • Meety on September 7, 2010, 1:18 GMT

    @twitter Jitter- re: what would he averge today if he was playing at the peak of his career, I have often thought about it. For a while I thought he would ave 70, but I could not see Bangladesh or the current WI sides getting him out. I think he would murder India in Australia - what about India - I think over 50. I think because he hit most of his shots along the ground the better fielding would restrict his run-scoring but not get him out as such. So I started thinking he would average closer to 80. Then I started thinking about better sprung bats - and thought that maybe even today he would of averaged 99! I think only the WI pace battery of the 80s could humble him. @India Boy (again), Lara, Tendulkar, Kallis, Dravid, Ponting all have similar stats - Tendulkar is not far ahead of any of them, (in any format), except in longivity something he shares with the Don. Comparing SRT to those players is a huge compliment as they all will be considered greats

  • Meety on September 7, 2010, 1:00 GMT

    @evenflow 1990 - good point re: Bodyline, it is my opinion that the state of uncovered pitches offsets the quality bowler arguement. @Sandy Bangalore - LMFAO! Very funny. I loved the line about Bradman would have nightmares facing Daryl Tuffy! @Twitter Jitter - finally a measured post against the "Bradman is the Greatest" statement. I believe it is harder to compare Richards v Tendulkar or Lillee v Larwood, because as great as they were/are there are pro's & cons. Sheer weight of statistics with Bradman is very compelling to put him on a level beyond comparison. Whether he would of averaged the same in the modern game is interesting, (as India Boy pointed out), there are more matches this can work both ways form bubbles v form slumps involve more tests. Having said that I think the biggest difference between today & yesteryear is fielding due to ODIs, another negative to the Don's stats would be more varied pitches, but on the + side, he would have helmets & better bats. TBC

  • Meety on September 7, 2010, 0:48 GMT

    @Hammond - I've heard that story too - also the Don regularly used to beat his age in golf well into 80's. @Ankit Jain - LOL too true. Whilst Bradman didn't actually fight in the war some of his teammates did - including the legendary K Miller as a pilot. When Miller was asked about the pressure of sport he said something like "Pressure, try having some Kaiser up your arse trying to shoot you down..." I think India Boy thinks that Sachin fought against Pakistan or something. @India Boy - regarding schedule, it meant that most Ashes series were extremely competitive unlike the pessimistic view that most test matches going at the moment are pointless, like India v Bang or WI v Aust. @testmatchsofa - there were people that didn't particularly like Bradman, there were tons of temmates that idolised him. Bradman had his views and did not sugarcoat them - hence he could make enemies. @BP Shah - you are a legend!

  • Meety on September 7, 2010, 0:33 GMT

    @India Boy - yes Bradman said as a compliment that Tendulkar played the most like himself. The Don did play a test series against India, but Tendulkar has dined out on Bangladesh & Zimbabwe too. re: Arch nemisis point - the fact was he was idolised in England & anybody who knows how things are between Aus & Eng know that there is nothing worse in sport to lose to each other. Also are you saying that Sachin is great because he doesn't match fix? In the modern era a slightly sub-standard pitch sees huge collapses, yet on worse pitches Don made 1st class scores as high as 452. The only attack that I think could ever humble him would be the WI pace battery of the 80s - which Tendulkar never faced at its height - also the Don did not have helmets - something that has saved Sachins life on one or two occassions. Please tell me where the Don's ethic is in question - Sachin has been accused of ball tampering my friend. TBC

  • Meety on September 7, 2010, 0:24 GMT

    @Neutral_Fan - true Bradman & Sobers the greatest cricketers. @cricfan78 - true re: "just based on stats" if they were mortal figures. The stories written & the skecthy black white photos & movies romanticise him even more. Regarding "Aussies love to hype up everything" - he got knighted in England, so the Bradman phenomenan was huge all around the cricketing world of the day. @BillyCC - true. @redneck - LOL re: Sachin @India Boy - you do yourself & your country a major disservice. The top 5 wicket takers of all time - played 100s of tests to get those wickets. Re "no leg breaks, off breaks, googlies, chinaman, doosra,teesra etc,there were no sultans of reverse swings,no wily part time bowlers" you are ignorant mate - some of the great leggies & offies of all time bowled in this era. Back in those you didn't reverse swing as the seam was more raised & the ball swung alot like in tape-ball, not to mention the way on damp pitches the ball would be unpredictable (tbc)

  • ian_ghose on September 7, 2010, 0:00 GMT

    What a beautiful piece! Written with sobriety, yet alluding to the grandeur that it held within. No chest-thumping, no foul-mouthing..just an exemplary expression of individual and form. It's shame that such a wonderful piece is being maligned by some little people trying to deify one particular sub-continental batsman. What is the pressure of a billion people? Does he owe money to those billion people? Or do those billion people kill him if he doesn't score? If thats the case, he would have been killed many times over by now. Compare their records after their first 80 innings, and if that doesn't tell the difference clearly to those little people, they probably never got an education, so can't differentiate between numbers. It's a tragedy that this webspace is also accessible to such people, and that it can be polluted by their disease stricken, rabid 'arguments'. -manasvi_lingam and Indian_boy - is education so difficult to come by in India?

  • BillyCC on September 6, 2010, 23:45 GMT

    TwitterJitter, I too do not know what Bradman would average today. But your point about travel comparisons is incorrect. In his day, Bradman had to travel on a ship for a month or two. That is much harder than travelling on a plane, given health standards, lack of communication with the outside world etc. And they had to play plenty of matches. The 1948 tour had 112 scheduled days of play in 144 days. This easily swamps the current cricketing calendar of any team.

  • BillyCC on September 6, 2010, 22:20 GMT

    allforone and Paulk, you bring up great points (and funny as well in the case of allforone). Thanks to cricfan78 for responding to Paulk and proving that Bradman was the greatest of all time in the process. Hahaha, guess what, I did some reading on Dhyan Chand and he happens to be regarded as the greatest hockey player of all time. Bradman too is many standard deviations from the next best (I think 12 from memory although I could be way off). So by your argument, that too makes him the greatest of all time.

  • BillyCC on September 6, 2010, 22:00 GMT

    Godfather007, apologies, I must have missed Tendulkar's video and article. On your point, I agree that it is difficult to compare players of different eras but it is not unfair or absurd. You know why Bradman played only 52 tests, and you know why there was limited opposition. Those are not points that stop anyone from being great and they certainly do not exclude pre-1960s players from being involved in the debate of greatest of all time. Incidentally, I have now read Tendulkar's Legends of Cricket article and I have been proven right, so thank you for proving me right. There were 62 comments in the forum and I did not see the Don mentioned in more than three posts and certainly no Bradman fan was rubbishing Tendulkar and putting Bradman ahead of him. It is sad to see this forum littered with Bradman criticisms but it proves that a lot of Tendulkar fans can see the threat and will try to come up with excuses for Tendulkar to maintain their fanatical stance.

  • CricFan78 on September 6, 2010, 21:56 GMT

    Paulk dhyan chand was more popular sportsman than Bradman was in that era. Even Bradman said that he scored goals in hockey like I score runs. Dhyan Chand was hugely popular in US, Europe besides Asia. Theres still a statue of him in Austria which shows him playing with 4 sticks, such was his art. And he is statistically 5 times better than next best goal scorer in intl hockey.

  • Clive_Dunn on September 6, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    All you can really do with players from many years ago in any sport is to compare them to their peers from the time. It's pretty pointless comparing Bradman to Tendulkar or Lara, Jonny Unitas to Peyton Manning, Babe Ruth to Barry Bonds - often the sports through either rule or lifestyle changes are very different now to the ones played 50 or 70 years ago.

    You look at Bradman's record at it's 35 ahead of his nearest contemporary, it isn't just a big gap it's a staggering one. It's like someone pitching up for the 100 metres and running under 6 seconds, I just don't know of any other sport that has one player so dominant over every one else.

  • paperpadi on September 6, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    Statistically, the Don's place in cricket is beyond doubt, unrivaled. However, one of the biggest factors that weighs against him is the fact that he has played only in two countries. http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/4188.html?class=1;template=results;type=batting

    Who knows how he may have fared had he been subjected to alien conditions!! would his average still have been 99.994? To call Bradman THE VERY BEST is an overstatement. Gary Sobers probably truly deserves that epithat.

  • India_boy on September 6, 2010, 19:28 GMT

    Lara...great in tests...but ODIs??? not even a team man.....and Kallis, awesome player both in tests and ODIs, great all rounder, but is not even considered for T-20 national team...dont insult Sachin by comparing him with contemporaries...

  • India_boy on September 6, 2010, 19:24 GMT

    i stand by my comments...u cant become the greatest by playing just 52 same kind of games against the same 2-3 countries, on the same kind of pitch and that too...needing 3 months to acclimatize.... anthr point being don has courted a lot of controversies, he was not even considered as a mentor and a team man by most of his team mates, go research some articles on him, so basically urs is just blind fanticism against informed criticism @nivek...if i was a pakistani or algerian, or chilean or even a martian, i wudda alws considered sachin atleast 10 times ahead of Don. and the part abt wily part time bowlers, there have been numerous reports that say only fixed bowlers were allowed to bowl, and if a team intended to use an extra bowler, it had to be declared before the start of the game...so there u go dude comparing sachin with ponting,kallis,lara??? r u kidding me??? ponting...claims grounded catches,was caught using aluminium/steel in his bat,even his own team mates dont respect him

  • Harmony111 on September 6, 2010, 19:24 GMT

    Designating someone as the greatest ever is risky, even for someone as deserving as Bradman or Sachin. Federer was supposed to be the greatest ever (and he still is) but isn't Nadal catching up quick? Huh.

    Some comments made by Sachin Fans are extremely silly and incomprehensible. Sachin is a great player. It need not be asserted. He is one of the greatest ever. Perhaps the Top 5 of all times. But we can't compare finer than that. The only way to find the exact order among the Top 5 would be a direct play-off or may be some computer simulation (and one is impossible while the other one is likely not to be exhaustive).

    At the same time, those who are at the other end seem to be at fault too. They seem to ignore the plethora of records Sachin holds and point out the ones that he doesn't. They also don't count BNG & ZIM (and for some and even SL, NZ & WI) cos these are weak teams. Well, IND, WI & RSA were noob's when Bradman played but it isn't held against him. Funny isn't?

  • Paulk on September 6, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    Sir Don is the one case in cricket where where statistics tell you all you need to know (IMHO of course). Not just the greatest but the greatest twice over. He is a freak, an outlier. The question to my mind is whether any sportsperson has so dominated his sport in his consistency as Bradman did. Sergei Bubka perhaps.

  • Jim1207 on September 6, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    Yeah, the article looks like a poetry when speaking about Sir Don. I would cherish this piece to read many times over the years which would give a feeling that we have seen Him batting! In retrospect and reading over the Rajesh's stats, I too now feel that Bradman is a part of his own, ahead of any batsman who has batted. I think the video footages do not give enough respect to his opponents as the bowlers seem to be pathetic, but it could be said that they start bowling pathetically when a batsman of such stature is facing and torturing them day in and day out. So, hard evidences would never say much about him than his stats and the way witnesses describe him. What no fanatic cannot deny is Bradman's first class record. People can say he only played 52 tests, but having a FC avg of 95 after 250 matches is a feat that any great batsman of any era can just dream and be humble about himself. Bradman seems to have same fanatic God-like following as Sachin has in our country every day now.

  • kishorecv on September 6, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    At the outset I would like to state that I am an Indian and proud to be one. I am way too young to have seen Bradman's exploits. But the sheer weight of his achievement (in terms of statistics) astounds me. I am extremely happy and glad that Don Bradman walked this planet. I am sure that those who were very fortunate to have watched him live, indeed have a very very special memories.

  • rajeevsingh on September 6, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    I am an Indian and love Sachin's batting but in no way does he or any other test cricketer come even close to Bradman in any sense or statistics. He may be the greatest only for us Indians but for the world, Don Bradman is to put it mildly and simply the ultimate and the greatest ever. Just look at the average of the Don (99.94) and the massive amount of runs in the least number of test matches, 6996 runs in 52 test matches. Just imagine how much Bradman could have scored if he had played more than 160 test matches which Tendulkar has had the privilege to play. So all of us should put our neutral caps on and throw away our patriotic caps to judge who is the best fair and square although there is no argument whatsoever that Don Bradman is in a league of his own and is all alone in "The Greatest of all time" club.

  • rajeevsingh on September 6, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    I think we are getting over the board here regarding the greatest Sir Don Bradman and the other ordinary mortals. Time has come that we do not even talk about the Don in the same line or breath as other players. People need to be educated that there is a world of difference between "A Great player" and "The Greatest player". When you call a player the greatest, as the world has already known the Don to be, that should be the end of the debate and story. Anybody who even thinks of comparing any cricketer with the Don has got no brains for sure. We take in to context the records of the players playing today too too much and just disregard the genius of players of yesteryears just like that. I am an Indian and love Sachin's batting but in no way does he or any other test cricketer come even close to Bradman in any sense or statistics. He may be the greatest only for us Indians but for the world, Don Bradman is to put it mildly and simply the ultimate and the greatest ever.

  • AhmadSaleem on September 6, 2010, 18:35 GMT

    Ridiculous stuff by India_boy. Gizza talks sense. Tendulkar doesnt come in league of even Sobers and Richards. Certainly, he is one of the greats but not greatest for sure. Lara, Ponting, Sangakkara and Kallis are equally good in my personal opinion. And why have you started this debate here. This article was about the genius of Bradman and very first comment brought Tendulkar into the discussion. I must say that he is not even the best Indian batsman in my opinion. Sunny was better.

  • allforone on September 6, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    @ Ankit Jain....you're a legend, your analysis gave me a laugh. The legend of the Don can't be wiped away, its like a fresh poo, the more you smear it the bigger it gets.

  • knowledge_eater on September 6, 2010, 16:14 GMT

    Probably the first Cricket Superstar,I have full respect for him. He was probably first Cricketers who have been adored and lit up many eyes and proved to the world," hey, Cricket can be your life too". His satisfaction to the game and from the game have forced me to respect him even more. And for Human Sack stop comparing Cricketers and stop pseudo supporting and say great things about particular players just because you like certain players. These Legends have put Cricket in World Maps. Certain Individuals should be banned from Commenting from Cricinfo. For me I was satisfied with certain players, and enjoyed their batting/bowling that doesn't prove I hate other players to the core. Stop showing your Darkness inside hidden inside hearts. It is just looks awful and stupid. I can't consume and get irritated all the time when some people say past greats were the greatest and current greats were the only greatest or even in future there won't be any more greats. Very well written article

  • fadooo on September 6, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    Some of the comments from tendulkar fans are so ridiculous. I mean its ok to have heores, but if you had even an iota of objectivity you would realize how ridiculous a statement like "tendulkar is better than bradman sounds". True that it is hard to compare across eras, but you can see how much better a player is compared to others within his era. Bradman was miles ahead of anyone else who played at the time...it was simply a no contest. Tendulkar is not the unarguably the best within his era..lara, ponting, steve waugh are pretty close and you could make a case for each of them. If you remove bangladesh and zimbabwe lara has a higher average and a better matches to century ratio. But during don's time you cant make even a remote case for anyone else.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on September 6, 2010, 15:34 GMT

    @saveejnera. Thommo himself said it. I watched the interview. @India_boy, watch the footage on Bradman and u will see the pitch was all dug up and muddy in patches, he literally had to go down and bang the bat into rough spots.

  • the_blue_android on September 6, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    Can we get over Bradman please? Bradman used to play cricket when Jesus used to do miracles. Why is the the aussieland still stuck in 1700s?

  • Godfather007 on September 6, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    Fantastic article by Gideon.Firstly this forum is meant to praise Sir Don who I feel is one of the greatest batsman as Sachin is slightly ahead of him.How can one become the greatest by playing just 52 internationals that too against 4 oppositions.Though I feel it is absurd to compare two greats of completely different eras,but it would also be unfair to call Bradman the greatest.@BillyCC mate Sachin has already been introduced in the Legends of Cricket series,so please wake up!!

  • nivek123 on September 6, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    Best batsman of all time. Period. @India_boy.. Its guys like you who give give the image that Indians are fanatical muppets to people. And its because of guys like you that one of the greatest batsman of all time (Tendulkar) will be ridiculed by people somewhere. Here too I can foresee a plethora of comments bashing Tendulkar because of fanatics like you.

  • kriketluva on September 6, 2010, 14:12 GMT

    I am a WI fan. I love Viv Richards with a passion. Bradman was the greatest cricketer of all time. That is not to say that Tendulkar is not a most excellent batsman. But Bradman was a genius who was in a league of his own. Do not be disheartened by having to admit that there will likely never be a player who could dominate as Bradman did. Come on.

  • prashnottz on September 6, 2010, 13:59 GMT

    Finally, the Gideon whom we love and admire is back, and how! Terrific piece on a terrific man

  • sajeevnara on September 6, 2010, 13:42 GMT

    @Hammond. Wow I never knew heard that before. Age 70 and asking Thommo to bowl full blast and playing it well. Unbelievable.

  • TwitterJitter on September 6, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    You get on a slippery slope when you assert "greatest of all time" because you can't possibly know it to be true. You can only compare people in an era. I can't see Bradman himself averaging the same in today's game with the number of games being played today and the travel involved. It is not to belittle his achievements. He dominated his era like no one else in their era did. Even Jordan chided people from comparing basketball players of different era and positions and ranking them. His position is that you can only compare people in each era and evaluate how they dominated their era. In the comments section there is no diversity of thought. It is usually people from a particular country line up behind players from their country and after that it is usually shouting down others. The greatest and most accurate tribute to him would be that he dominated his era like no other batsman of any other era did.

  • sandy_bangalore on September 6, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    The dude named India_boy has to be among the funniest ever to post messages on cricinfo forums. He was not even around in the 30s and 40s, yet he seems to know exactly what type of bowlers operated those days, how inferior they were compared to present day bowlers, how they were no wars and scandals and deaths those days.(WW1 and 2 anyone?)Its as if the Don played an amateur league in the village greens of England, and not test match cricket. And can u please list the controversies of Don, since thats one part you havent explained completely? And of course larwood,voce,bedser etc cannot stand up to the 'wily part timers' of today!!' And what about an average of 58 during the bodyline series, when bouncers were hurled at will on uncovered pitches? And yeah, Bradman didnt have the worry of facing the might of Bangladesh,Zim,NZ and Windies those days, since I am sure the likes of tuffey,mills,shakib,sammy would have given him nightmares.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on September 6, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    @India_boy. I know u wouldn't say a thing if Bradman was an Indian! I don't see how u can support CricFan78. Guess what? Bradman is gone but MILLIONS all around the globe STILL admire him and pour praises on him. So I don't see where u'r coming from, claiming Bradman was only loved by 2 countries, thats absolute filth. Furthermore, what does "ethics" have to do with whether or not u can bat? What do u think this is? A kiddy show? You guys should refrain from writing such stuff because when u do make a valid point, no-1 is going to take u seriously.

  • BillyCC on September 6, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    So India_boy, please do not attempt to belittle this article and Bradman and the general cricket fan by telling us how good Tendulkar is. I say "attempt" because you do it unsuccessfully anyway. I am very aware of the greatness of Tendulkar, and he will get his turn in the Legends of Cricket. I hope that when that happens, there will not be any people in the forum talking down Tendulkar and talking up Bradman, just like how you have done the reverse here when you have no right to. I know that for me, when Tendulkar has his moment, I will be cheering loudly for him just as Bradman deserves all the credit he gets for his greatness in this forum. By trying to attack Bradman, you are only proving his greatness above all others. And you fit into a category of people who try to blindly throw up useless reasons of why Bradman is not the best and hope that these reasons can somehow diminish or weigh down his average into half of what it factually is.

  • BillyCC on September 6, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    Cont'd for India_boy: Gizza has already mentioned your incorrect assessment of one-dimensional bowling, so no need to revisit that. Your point about how the Don said that Sachin played like him and not the other way around is silly. If I had the pleasure of asking Sachin the question of who was the better batsman and he said Bradman, then I suppose you would change your mind. Obviously not, both are champions and both are modest as well. So your point doesn't mean anything. You also mention bigger audiences and match fixing, both points are useless. Sachin playing in the era when top 5 wicket takers are present is a function of number of test matches played which we know it was not possible in Bradman's time. The only relevant point you make is that Bradman didn't play on a variety of pitches. I would like to end by saying: there is no bigger compliment for a 90 year old (Bradman) than to be visited by the best batsman of the current generation (Tendulkar) just to exchange stories.

  • evenflow_1990 on September 6, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    it is worth noting that during the bodyline series, with relentless bouncers, 7 fielders on the on side, and no helmets or chest guards, bradman averaged 56.75. this is better than tendulkars average of 56.02 in test cricket, played on better wickets, humane cricketing laws and body protection. true tendulkar may have faced better bowlers, but considering the disadvantages bradman faced, and how far ahead of his time he was and indeed still is, i think its silly to equate the two men. bradman is clearly ahead. if, indeed, bowling is the only criteria by which you want to judge them, then sangakkara rates ahead of tendulkar in test matches - averaging 56.85 and being a wicket keeper with close to 200 scalps. so tendulkar really can't compare. great as he is :)

  • evenflow_1990 on September 6, 2010, 12:49 GMT

    bradman = number 1 [insert breadth of galaxy] ... the rest

  • gr8_sachin_fan on September 6, 2010, 12:35 GMT

    @India_boy: Its fans like u who let Sachin Tendulkar down and make him be ridiculed by regular cricket fans. So, does Tendulkar have the highest avg among the batsmen in his generation? He has played the greatest number of tests than anyone else, so has he scored the highest number of double centuries in his generation? Has he even scored the highest number of double centuries by an Indian Batsmen? Does he have the highest individual test score of his generation? or for India? How many triple centuries has he scored? Forget the statistics, which bowler today fears bowling to Tendulkar? Many have claimed the fear of Sehwag though.. Let alone any fan saying tendulkar to be best ever batsman in the world, I refuse to accept he is even the best Test batsman ever for India. That honour goes to Virendra Sehwag. And I bet you, no Sehwag fan ever needs to argue his case on such forums. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Sachin fans...

  • sandy_bangalore on September 6, 2010, 12:02 GMT

    Great column GH. Never seen him play, but anyone with an average of 99.96 has to be in his own league.And what about the fact that despite the infamous 'Bodyline' tactis used by Englismen in one of the series, he still averaged around 60 odd. No present day batsmen(including Tendulkar,Ponting,Lara) had to face that sort of barrage anytime. AMusing to see people use this forum to compare some present day players with someone like the Don. Tendulkar may be the most technically organised batsman ever, but that dosent mean that he is the greatest ever to hold a cricket bat.

  • BPShah on September 6, 2010, 11:48 GMT

    There can not be another Bradman. Sachin is great,but Don Bradman is the greatest. He is literally "God" in cricket. I only wish I could have seen him playing.But on my trip to Australia I went to Bowral..felt like a pilgrim.

  • senrohit on September 6, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    Dont agree with the introduction - the greatest batsman of the 20th century.. no way.. has to be the greatest batsman of all time. Whenever we talk about all time greats.. its is difficult to imagine that No.1 and No.2 spots would be other than the Don and Sobers. I am a great fan of SRT - if he can be said to be the No. 3 on that list, then there cant be a greater honour for him. Its just unfair to compare anyone to the Don - the statistics are just freakish. On top his behaviour specially on the field... The greats are not petulant and there also like of the Don and SRT score highly (Warne being the exception that proves this rule haha!)

  • Gizza on September 6, 2010, 10:24 GMT

    India_boy don't make up stories. Of course there were leg breaks and googlies back then. What do you think Bill O'Reilly and Clarrie Grimmett bowled? And you should also know that number of wickets is one of the worst way of judging a bowler. Averages are far better if you need to use a stat. Just look at India's list of All-Time XI spinner nominees. Out of the 9 Harbhajan is second when it comes to number of wickets but he is clearly the worst.

    To be honest Tendulkar isn't the clear No. 1 even in his generation. There's Lara, Kallis, Ponting, etc. In my opinion Viv Richards was a better batsman and you can see plenty of TV footage of him (except for perhaps playing against quality spin) .

    Even in the Indian team, arguably Dravid and Sehwag are both better. Dravid defensively and Sehwag offensively. Tendulkar is probably more rounded. And the only reason why he trumps everyone in my opinion was his late 90's duels with Shane Warne, which have been the best cricket I have ever seen.

  • testmatchsofa on September 6, 2010, 10:10 GMT

    A marvellous summary of what Bradman meant to Australia, and of course the reason why it's so hard for Australians, apart from great outspoken mavericks such as Jack Fingleton and Keith Miller, to admit what a frightful monster he was off the pitch. Haughty, manipulative and self serving, he also ensured that any bowlers who had his measure (Larwood for example) faced cruel insinuations about their actions for daring to best the master. No one speaks with fondness about him, but they do talk in properly reverant tones about watching him bat, because he was, by far, the greatest batsman of all time. And you don't need to have watched him bat or pore over DVD's to know it.

  • India_boy on September 6, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    and so, i dont think that Don was not a great player, in my opinion, he was one of the greats, in fact he was the best, right after Sachin Tendulkar :)

  • India_boy on September 6, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    and of course, not to compare the schedule, heres the schedule of players played during Don's era: Jan 1929, 5 tests in Aus opp. Eng....6 months break, Aus next series in July in Eng. 5 tests, reaching Eng at least 2 months prior to ACCLIMATIZE....play 3 county games where the county team contained 9 players from the national team.Next series in Aus or SA, after 8 months.....n so on.... schedule of players from Sachin's era: Jan 2009, 5 tests in Aus, reaching Aus 1 week before,right after playing an extremely high tension series, playing 1 county game and in most cases not even that! after the series, 4 days break and then one tri-series involving Pak or SL or NZ or WI, then 3 days break, 3 T-20s with Aus. tour ended April 2009, next tour after 15 days to Eng, playing cricket for anthr 1 month before embarking for a home series.....and not to mention the IPL, CL, WC, and what not.....!!!!!

  • on September 6, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    @redneck - "good to see the first comment already mentions sachin! didnt take long there! great article gideon". LOL. I so whole-heatedly share your sentiment on that. For all those raving about greater pressure and more difficult conditions today, do that to support the cause of any cricketer other than Tendulkar, and there is a chance that I will take it seriously :D And this pressure of "a billion is a thousand times more than pressure of million" makes no sense. By that measure, Sachin must be feeling 30% more pressure today compared to 15 years ago. Why? That's the amount Indian population has grown in 15 years. So a 100 by Sachin now is worth 130 then; of course Ponting's 100 is worth less than Sachin's 2 runs (do the math) :D

  • Hammond on September 6, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    I heard this story from an old aussie cricketer that I won't name. To Australians the 74/75 series against England was a watershed one in that Thompson & Lillee lined up together for the first time and wiped the English off the ground/s. Sir Donald was head Aussie selector at the time and requested a net against Dennis & Jeff. At first they were bowling medium pace quite respectfully against the nearly 70 year old legend. Bradman berated the bowlers and asked them to bowl as quick as they bowl in the test matches. Faster and faster they bowled and both bowlers watched Sir Don get right behind and middle every ball. Thompson said of it afterwards that he always had trouble imagining a player twice as good as Greg Chappell, but on that day at nearly seventy years of age, he could see that the Don was twice as good as any batsman he had ever bowled against. Don't write off the old players just because they are from the past. A champion of one era would be a champion of any other.

  • India_boy on September 6, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    5. I appreciate the fact that Don played on sticky wickets, the uncovered ones, but u must also remember that bowling in those days was very much one dimensional,there were no leg breaks, off breaks, googlies, chinaman, doosra,teesra etc,there were no sultans of reverse swings,no wily part time bowlers, evry time there were the same 3 bowlers from the same other 2 teams(SA and Eng),there must be some sort of record like Bradman b larwood more number of times than Sachin has played Aus in his entire career. 6. there were dark times when Don played and mind you,Aus wasnt in the thick of things during WW, Sachin has played during india-pak war,his father's death,match-fixing scandals,death threats for himself and his family, numerous operations 7. Sachin has maintained an exceptional ethic outside cricket life, is a mentor for juniors,completely controversy free in all his life, unlike Don. Last but not the least, it was don who said that Sachin played like him n not the othr way arnd ;)

  • India_boy on September 6, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    @manasvi: rightly said and apart from this, we also have to consider that 1. don's audience was concentrated in no more than 2 countries (Aus and Eng), ok SA if one is too optimistic...Sachin's audience is India of course, but aftr that its the Australians themselves, the British, South Africans, West Indians(who adore Sachin as mch as they adore Sobers, Walsh or Lara), New Zealanders, Bermudans, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis 2. there cant be a bigger compliment for someone when the people from the self-proclaimed arch-nemesis Pakistan claim that they want India to win when Sachin is playing. This kind of belief exists when u compare ur devotion to the God,when u think God can never go wrong. 3. when Sachin is playing in the team, no one can ever say that the match was fixed. Sachin's average in Aus is highest for any overseas player, Don never played in India... 4. Sachin played in the era when top 5 wicket takers of all time played, Mcgrath, Walsh,Warne,Murali,Kumble. continued.....

  • redneck on September 6, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    good to see the first comment already mentions sachin! didnt take long there! great article gideon, fitting tribute to the greatest cricketer/australian to walk the earth! the way he conducted him self on and off the field is something that all modern cricketers and people in general could learn from! cricfan78 you may think your being clever in making those remarks but really your just showing how petty and clueless you really are! this article itself shows there was more than just stats. he captivated england aswell as australia! people turned up just to watch him bat, that speaks volumes to me. certainly dont need footage just to admire the blokes ability!

  • BillyCC on September 6, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    CricFan78, not sure what you're trying to say. In 500 years time, I can't see many people digging up old videos or DVDs (which probably won't exist by then) watching Sobers, Richards, Tendulkar, Kallis, Gavaskar etc. That is why we have articles such as these and various books from a range of authors (Australian and otherwise) detailing the greatness of these legends of cricket. A person in the future analysing the period 1900 to 2010 will see the stats and will be able to read various articles and if they were reasonable, they would note that these were great players. Only very hard core researchers will bother going through watching the history. But by your argument, if they didn't bother watching any full videos and they forgot about stats, players like Sobers and Tendulkar would be dismissed and only their recent generations would be considered "great".

  • on September 6, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    This is a fantastic peice!

    Gideon, its so nice to see you back to doing such pieces!

  • on September 6, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Cricinfo should have saved Bradman for last :)

  • CricFan78 on September 6, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    Frankly its hard to admire someone just based on stats. When you havent even seen full video of someone's batting inns you cant figure out how he was. And we all know how Aussies love to hype up everything. He might be greatest batsman of his era but I will stop there.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on September 6, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    I thought they would feature Bradman and Sobers last in the series, as a sort of grand finale lol. Don was the king of all batsmen. My most memorable story of his, was hearing him tell of his batting feats whilst suffering from peritonitis! For those who don't know, peritonitis is mad painful,comes with a nasty fever and in those days without biotics,potentially fatal. The guy still averaged 50+, incredible! No player b-4 or since has racked up his 100:Inning ratio and no-1 since has rattled off triple and double hundreds as regularly and easily and also at a fair clip. Bradman was a freak of nature! The stats,reports,footage and documentaries all paint a picture of absolute dominance and determination. My greatest wish is to live long enough to see another batsman of his ability and superiority over his peers come unto the scene. To me, Bradman and Sobers are the 2 biggest legends of cricket!

  • BillyCC on September 6, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    A fantastic batting and captaincy career and a well written article by Gideon Haigh. I particularly like the quote "while assertions of Bradman's uniqueness usually concentrate on the phenomenon of his record as a statistical outlier, it's the combination of his level of performance with the fascination of his society that makes him not only a one-of-a-kind batsman but a one-of-a-kind cricket hero". People forget that Bradman played cricket in the world's darkest period. That's what you get when you have the Great Depression and World War 2, and your childhood is dominated by World War 1. So when people talk about modern day pressure, media scrutiny, and the big bucks and fan following, it doesn't seem so bad compared to the era that Bradman grew up and played in.

  • manasvi_lingam on September 6, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    "Only Sachin Tendulkar since has been accompanied to the crease by such uniformity of expectations, and even then these seldom ramify far beyond India" - with due respect, the audience of Sir Don was even smaller. The expectations of more than a billion is a very large number, even more than what Federer, Woods, etc face. This is not to doubt Sir Don's ability. He is after all, the finest batsman that cricket has seen.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • manasvi_lingam on September 6, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    "Only Sachin Tendulkar since has been accompanied to the crease by such uniformity of expectations, and even then these seldom ramify far beyond India" - with due respect, the audience of Sir Don was even smaller. The expectations of more than a billion is a very large number, even more than what Federer, Woods, etc face. This is not to doubt Sir Don's ability. He is after all, the finest batsman that cricket has seen.

  • BillyCC on September 6, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    A fantastic batting and captaincy career and a well written article by Gideon Haigh. I particularly like the quote "while assertions of Bradman's uniqueness usually concentrate on the phenomenon of his record as a statistical outlier, it's the combination of his level of performance with the fascination of his society that makes him not only a one-of-a-kind batsman but a one-of-a-kind cricket hero". People forget that Bradman played cricket in the world's darkest period. That's what you get when you have the Great Depression and World War 2, and your childhood is dominated by World War 1. So when people talk about modern day pressure, media scrutiny, and the big bucks and fan following, it doesn't seem so bad compared to the era that Bradman grew up and played in.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on September 6, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    I thought they would feature Bradman and Sobers last in the series, as a sort of grand finale lol. Don was the king of all batsmen. My most memorable story of his, was hearing him tell of his batting feats whilst suffering from peritonitis! For those who don't know, peritonitis is mad painful,comes with a nasty fever and in those days without biotics,potentially fatal. The guy still averaged 50+, incredible! No player b-4 or since has racked up his 100:Inning ratio and no-1 since has rattled off triple and double hundreds as regularly and easily and also at a fair clip. Bradman was a freak of nature! The stats,reports,footage and documentaries all paint a picture of absolute dominance and determination. My greatest wish is to live long enough to see another batsman of his ability and superiority over his peers come unto the scene. To me, Bradman and Sobers are the 2 biggest legends of cricket!

  • CricFan78 on September 6, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    Frankly its hard to admire someone just based on stats. When you havent even seen full video of someone's batting inns you cant figure out how he was. And we all know how Aussies love to hype up everything. He might be greatest batsman of his era but I will stop there.

  • on September 6, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Cricinfo should have saved Bradman for last :)

  • on September 6, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    This is a fantastic peice!

    Gideon, its so nice to see you back to doing such pieces!

  • BillyCC on September 6, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    CricFan78, not sure what you're trying to say. In 500 years time, I can't see many people digging up old videos or DVDs (which probably won't exist by then) watching Sobers, Richards, Tendulkar, Kallis, Gavaskar etc. That is why we have articles such as these and various books from a range of authors (Australian and otherwise) detailing the greatness of these legends of cricket. A person in the future analysing the period 1900 to 2010 will see the stats and will be able to read various articles and if they were reasonable, they would note that these were great players. Only very hard core researchers will bother going through watching the history. But by your argument, if they didn't bother watching any full videos and they forgot about stats, players like Sobers and Tendulkar would be dismissed and only their recent generations would be considered "great".

  • redneck on September 6, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    good to see the first comment already mentions sachin! didnt take long there! great article gideon, fitting tribute to the greatest cricketer/australian to walk the earth! the way he conducted him self on and off the field is something that all modern cricketers and people in general could learn from! cricfan78 you may think your being clever in making those remarks but really your just showing how petty and clueless you really are! this article itself shows there was more than just stats. he captivated england aswell as australia! people turned up just to watch him bat, that speaks volumes to me. certainly dont need footage just to admire the blokes ability!

  • India_boy on September 6, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    @manasvi: rightly said and apart from this, we also have to consider that 1. don's audience was concentrated in no more than 2 countries (Aus and Eng), ok SA if one is too optimistic...Sachin's audience is India of course, but aftr that its the Australians themselves, the British, South Africans, West Indians(who adore Sachin as mch as they adore Sobers, Walsh or Lara), New Zealanders, Bermudans, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis 2. there cant be a bigger compliment for someone when the people from the self-proclaimed arch-nemesis Pakistan claim that they want India to win when Sachin is playing. This kind of belief exists when u compare ur devotion to the God,when u think God can never go wrong. 3. when Sachin is playing in the team, no one can ever say that the match was fixed. Sachin's average in Aus is highest for any overseas player, Don never played in India... 4. Sachin played in the era when top 5 wicket takers of all time played, Mcgrath, Walsh,Warne,Murali,Kumble. continued.....

  • India_boy on September 6, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    5. I appreciate the fact that Don played on sticky wickets, the uncovered ones, but u must also remember that bowling in those days was very much one dimensional,there were no leg breaks, off breaks, googlies, chinaman, doosra,teesra etc,there were no sultans of reverse swings,no wily part time bowlers, evry time there were the same 3 bowlers from the same other 2 teams(SA and Eng),there must be some sort of record like Bradman b larwood more number of times than Sachin has played Aus in his entire career. 6. there were dark times when Don played and mind you,Aus wasnt in the thick of things during WW, Sachin has played during india-pak war,his father's death,match-fixing scandals,death threats for himself and his family, numerous operations 7. Sachin has maintained an exceptional ethic outside cricket life, is a mentor for juniors,completely controversy free in all his life, unlike Don. Last but not the least, it was don who said that Sachin played like him n not the othr way arnd ;)