Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book Review - The Don by Roland Perry

The Don - A biography about Sir Donald Bradman by Roland Perry. I bought this book at the University of Western Australia book fair for Save The Children Fund a while back. It cost me $6 and was in pretty good nick. There's 635 pages, not including the index, and I can honestly tell you that this was the most interesting book I've ever read and most difficult to put down. It helps that I revered The Don and love cricket but the book is written in such a way that you almost feel as though you are watching the cricket matches being described.

I learnt that Bradman liked to score to the onside from the first delivery he faced, he played steadily until his 50 was reached scoring at the rate of 80-90 runs per 100 deliveries, and that once he made his century he would open up. After having scored all of the records in cricket that mattered to him it was a case of I've reached a hundred in this innings and he would start lofting the ball. More often than not he threw his wicket away around 150, if his team didn't need the runs, due to ill health. He suffered from fibrositis and even broke a bone in his leg whilst playing Test cricket. I always thought that he kept the ball on the ground if the field was set deep and then lofted the infield if the fielders were close. Not the case it would appear. Bradman rarely struck a six in a match and it was only when he was in the process of throwing his wicket away that he would entertain the thought.

Bradman's philosophy was that batsmen should score as many runs as possible as quickly as possible to give their team the best chance of winning a match. He abhorred timeless Tests whereby dreary, boring batsmen could bat for three days to score as many runs as they could when he could score that many in a single day. He also went on to become the chairman of The Board of Control, the forerunner of the Australian Cricket Board, and was a selector for a great number of years. The Don certainly gave back to the game that made him famous although he hated the fame that came with his incredible feats.

The book details his life from childhood, cricket in the bush as a kid, the struggle to combine work with cricket as there was no professionalism in Australia in those days, his reasons for leaving Sydney and settling in Adelaide, the fact that his first born child died within days of birth and his triumphant tour of England in 1948 when he appeared to be all washed up as a cricketer after World War II. The book utilised a number of interviews with The Don. I didn't know that he was a director of Tecalemit (a company that we deal with at work) at one stage or a stockbroker. Talk about an informative and inspiring read. Probably more for cricket fans but a fabulous read. Enthralling maybe. Gosh, listen to me babble on.

The Don - A Biography by Roland Perry

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great read!!