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Sir Donald Bradman was indisputably the greatest player the game has ever seen. He broke nearly all of cricket's records, and most of its rules as well, with a wonderfully unorthodox technique that suggested that his eyesight must have been second-to-none.
In fact, that assumption could not have been further from the truth. Bradman's vision was so faulty that he was invalided out of the Australian Army during the Second World War. Instead, he owed his success to other attributes - namely his supreme concentration, nimble footwork and natural talent.
The talent was God-given, but the rest he had to work at - and most of that work was done in his own backyard as a small boy, where he used to practise for hours on end, using a cricket stump to hit a golf ball against a galvanised iron water tank.
"To me, it was only fun," Bradman later admitted, "but looking back, it was probably a concentrated exercise in accuracy and wonderful training for my eyesight. The golf ball came back pretty fast and I had very little time ... to get into position for a shot."
The training paid the richest of dividends. Bradman retired from Test cricket in 1948 after a 20-year career, in which he had scored 6996 runs in 52 Tests, at an average of 99.94. No player - past, present or future - has, or ever will, come close to surpassing his achievements.
© Standard Chartered Bank
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