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Monday, 26 February, 2001, 02:08 GMT
A player's player
Don Bradman sweeps against England
Bradman was proficient with every cricketing stroke
BBC Sport Online's Pranav Soneji examines the reasons why Sir Donald Bradman was regarded as the best of the best.

His position as the greatest batsman ever to grace the game of cricket is unanimous.

Sir Donald Bradman possessed the technique and intelligence that took him to the very pinnacle of the sport.

His Test record is the stuff of legends: 52 Tests, 6996 runs, 29 hundreds at an average of 99.94.

He developed his natural batting talent improvising at his New South Wales home and his ingenious method was simple.

He learned by throwing a golf ball at the base of a water tank with his right hand whilst holding a cricket stump in his left.

Fred Trueman in action for Yorkshire
Fred Trueman: Impressed by Bradman's speed
Then, gripping the stump with both hands, he would attempt to score 'runs' by hitting the unpredictable golf ball onto the laundry wall or door.

It was this incredible skill that developed his extraordinary eye and hand co-ordination.

England's third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, Freddie Truman was one bowler who recognised his natural visual speed.

"He must have had wonderful eyesight," he said.

"He picked the line and the length of the ball very quickly to get into position as quickly as he did.

"He was like a ballet dancer on his feet - he was incredible."

His excellent fielding skills were attributed to his other domestic invention - utilising the rounded fence railings at his home to take sharp return catches.

Bradman was the ultimate thinking batsman.


His greatest strength was that every time he went to the wicket, he would score a 100
  Godfrey Evans

He displayed a wonderful range of strokes, but excelled playing the pull shot, especially through the arc between mid-on and backward square leg.

Although he scored his runs at an incredible rate, his level of concentration would never waiver beyond the next delivery.

Accumulating runs was his priority - giving away his wicket was criminal.

Another former England fast bowler Alec Bedser believed Bradman's talent lay in his positive approach when he was at the wicket.

He said: "He was always looking to score," the former Surrey legend said.

"He didn't necessarily hit the ball for four every time you bowled, but he would push it for twos and threes, run every run quickly.

"He always tried to dominate when he was batting - which he did of course."

Former England wicketkeeper Godfrey Evans watched many a Bradman innings from behind the stumps.

Alec Bedser bowling
Alec Bedser: Bradman was always looking to score runs
"He was very quick on his feet, he had very good judgement of the length of the ball and his concentration as magnificent," he said.

"Out there in the middle, when he'd been there a little while, I'd say to him 'how's your wife?' and he'd say, 'I'll tell you after I've finished batting'.

"You couldn't get the concentration out of him."

But it was the rate at which he scored runs - coupled with his frequency of scoring hundreds - that frightened the opposition to death.

Twenty-nine hundreds in only 52 Test matches illustrates the regularity of which he used to reach three figures.

"His greatest strength was that every time he went to the wicket, he would score a 100," added Evans.

"You don't want much more strength than that."

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See also:

25 Feb 01 |  Cricket
Tributes pour in for Bradman
25 Feb 01 |  SOL
The Don - a cricket legend
25 Feb 01 |  Cricket
Oliver's memories of Bradman
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