Immortal Bradman and The Slow Death Of A Gentleman

As I get notified through a TV show, on the eve of the birthday of one of very few sportsmen to have mastered his art to near perfection and to have garnered adulation from all over the world, and even from countries which did not indulge in the sport he endorsed , it’s time to pay some due diligence to the great Sir Donald Bradman and also maybe to reflect upon the state of the game he once must have loved beyond proportions. Donald Bradman, also popularly known as Don Bradman or just ‘The Don’ , was a true master of the game of Cricket, Test Cricket to be precise. His batting average of 99.94 in as much as 52 games is claimed by many to be statistically the greatest achievement of all time in any International sport.

Being born in the 90’s, I’ve only had the privilege to watch him play through those very few YouTube videos online— his shots weren’t about power and bat speed, he seemed to be very wristy and moved around the crease very well, which shows his mind over body approach to the game without which he wouldn’t have been this successful in the bygone era where pitches weren’t as flat as your marbled floors — as they tend to be made these days. The conception that one of Walt Disney’s original character Donald Duck might have been named after Donald Bradman’s notorious innings where he got out for a duck during a tour of North America shows the extent of his popularity and his sporting relevancy during those days. And also the fact that his average is almost 40 ahead of the second best of all time still bemuses everyone . Whatever the case might be, Bradman has certainly reached a state of Immortality. Test Cricket has seen a true legend. But, Test Cricket though, is a legend by itself. It beholds the Spirit Of Cricket in its purest form.

Test cricket, in all its shades is perfectly named so because it is much more than just being a test of one’s hand-eye or foot-eye co-ordinations. It is an enduring test of one’s perseverance, temperament, skill, strategy and controlled aggression. It seems to be the only popular sport with a preamble to it’s law asserting over what the Spirit of the Sport stands for. Test Cricket is a reflection of life, it teaches you lessons for life, it persuades you to fight with all your might in a battle of endurance,it calls for you to succeed, but above all it tries to establish that the Spirit of the game is above its own laws and anything else, however tough the battles might get. It is ‘The Gentleman’ of all sports. It’s been designed to be so, starting with the uniforms the players carry with them — the whites.

When the Spirit of the game stood above the Laws of the game.

It is incidents such as these that remind us of the true purpose behind this very sport (thanks to the Indian Team for having realized their mistake and for the courage to revoke their appeal). Sadly, all being said, when you ponder upon the manner in which we have treated this game, it leads to utter disappointment and disapproval. Test cricket these days is treated with contempt, which is merely a reflection of how the society is evolving. Cricket has evolved over the years, mainly driven by its potential to generate huge sums of money. In case you didn’t know, the BCCI(Board Of Control for Cricket in India) is among the richest sports bodies in the world.

It is appreciable that the ICC is making efforts to add some more life to the sport by paving ways for day-night Test matches but it is all an effort for a lost cause — when people have ceased to remember the values of the sport, why even play it then ? One day, a decision might be made to bid goodbye to Test Cricket and no voices maybe left to oppose it even , and I really wish not to be there to witness it’s death. It’d take a miracle to help the game survive from all the deathly blows by people who are trying to morph the game in order to hog money for themselves. It seems to have reached a point of no return. It hurts to see all the damage that’s being done to this beautiful game. Well, know what, they might succeed in killing the game, but the Spirit Of the Game lives on !

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