Written by Mark Rowe
How did Donald Bradman do it? He had an ‘eye’ for the ball; he could concentrate, and had an appetite for runs. Yet it’s one thing to have the ability, and another to have a chance to prove it. Hence Bradman called his rise an ‘adventure’, from being talent-spotted, invited to nets at the Sydney Cricket Ground aged 18, in October 1926, to first Test selection in November 1928.
Few have considered the sociology of 1920s small town Australia and Sydney’s volunteer enthusiasts that made the time and place ideal for a Bradman. His story speaks to us still. That no batsman has been as extraordinary as Bradman since (despite the prediction of Sir Neville Cardus) begs questions about questions and the ‘academies’ of elite sport. If an uncoached small lad from a small town with no more than a keen family background in sport could do it, why hasn’t anyone else?