Book Review - Bradman's Invincibles by Roland Perry
Having read the book about the complete life story of Sir Donald Bradman which included a decent section on the 1948 tour of England in which his team remained unbeaten in 31 first class matches and two second class matches (against Scotland at the end of the tour) in a period from April to September 1948, not including the boat trips to Europe and back with only a squad of 16 men whereas England and the countries had unlimited choice - although there were 34 scheduled matches so possibly another second class match was played, I was concerned that this book would be a repeat of one of the final chapters of the previous book. Much of the writing is the same but so much more was written about The Don's fellow cricketers. It certainly expanded upon the contributions of the team members and didn't just concentrate on The Don's contributions.
Many of the games were played back-to-back after overnight train rides in between. Fatigue must have been a major concern. I never knew how devastating Miller and Lindwall were as batsmen and not just bowlers. The likes of this team of cricketers and their achievements on one tour will not be surpassed. Modern cricket doesn't allow for it anyway. The players partied hard, on occasion, and were punished in Bradman's way if they transgressed. His only rule was that players had to report fit when they were called upon to play. On one occasion a player returned to the hotel after a night of drinking and dancing and met Bradman as he was coming downstairs for breakfast. this was even though he had been chosen for the game and he ended up spending all day at fine leg. This meant having to go from one end of the ground to the other at the conclusion of each over. And these guys bowled about 120 overs in a day. Someone in the crowd said that he could borrow his bike and at the conclusion of the next over and he did so. What a sight it must have been to see a fielder changing position on the field by bicycle. Even Bradman had to laugh. His name was Keith Miller.
The last couple of chapters are dedicated to the cricket and life stories of The Invincibles (Australians) and The Vincibles (English). Almost biographies in their own right. I had no idea that Dennis Compton was a professional footballer (soccer player) concurrently with his professional cricketing.
This book was just as good to read as The Don - A Biography by Roland Perry and only took me two weeks to complete. Not a lot of television was viewed whilst reading this book as it was so interesting. I grabbed any time that was available. A great read.
Bradman's Invincibles by Roland Perry