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The National Library of Australia has unveiled 115 letters from Don Bradman to Rohan Rivett, wherein the Don speaks out on the various claims by Jack Fingleton against his captaincy, and batting during Bodyline... Click here for 'The Australian Article'
Vale Keith Miller
 
Australian cricket has lost one of its true greats with the passing of Keith Ross Miller at the age of 84.

Popularly acclaimed as the greatest all-rounder Australia has produced, Miller played 55 Tests compiling 2958 runs at 36.97 with a highest score of 147 and claiming 170 wickets at 22.97 with 7/60 his best figures.

The stats, however, can't convey Miller's charisma, his presence and his powerful personality.

A bomber pilot with the Royal Air Force, Miller was to become one of the most popular, dashing and successful of post-war cricketers.

Miller announced himself with 185 for the Dominions against England at Lord's in August 1945 and went on to become a key member of Bradman's Invincibles of 1948.

He formed a formidable new ball partnership with Ray Lindwall and was still good enough at 36 to take ten wickets in a test against England at Lord's.

Miller was also a champion Australian Rules footballer, representing St Kilda and Victoria with aplomb as a dashing full back.

Born in the outer-western Melbourne suburb of Sunshine on November 28, 1919, Miller passed away at a nursing home on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne on Monday after a period of ill health.

Don Bradman on Keith Miller

One of the most volatile cricketers of any age. Long rangy athletic type - drove the ball with tremendous power - tried to hit sixes with abandon. Many of them were prodigious. Would have been a far better player had he curbed this propensity and showed more judgement in his hitting. Dangerous bowler with the new ball, swinging it both ways and not much short of Lindwall's pace. Also bowled off-spinners on a turning wicket. In 1948 was the best slip field in the world. Altogether a
crowd-pleasing personality of the Jack Gregory type whose limitations were caused mainly by his own failure to concentrate.

from Farewell to Cricket (1950)


 

BRADMAN'S WORLDS-RECORD BAT FOR AUCTION OCTOBER 19 2003

SOLD FOR $34,500


Tom Thompson of Lawson  MenziesLawson Menzies auction house in Sydney are selling Bradman'sfirst Slazenger ‘Don Bradman’ Autograph short handle bat, match-used during the 1946-47 Ashes series, inscribed in ink on the shoulder. This is THE BAT WITH WHICH SIR DONALD BRADMAN PERFORMED HIS WORLD RECORD 5TH WICKET PARTNERHIP OF 405 WITH SID BARNES (EACH SCORING 234). While a large number of faded signatures exist on this bat, Compton’s signature can be seen an inch below Bradman’s (on the right shoulder), using infrared technology. Bradman was particularly impressed by Compton’s knocks in the 105 degree furnace of the Adelaide Oval (see Farewell to Cricket, p128).
Bradman had barely played a game of cricket since he was invalided out of the army suffering from fibrositis in 1941, when first class matches were resumed in Australia in late 1945. Slazenger had just begun the first local production of the Don Bradman Autograph bats (formally taking over from Sykes) and Bradman chose this second string willow to knock himself in. See Farewell to Cricket p117:

"I was not playing Saturday afternoon cricket or practising in any way so it semed most unlikely that I would be of any use… Just prior to the Services match, S.A. were to play Queensland on the Adelaide Oval. As this was to be during the christmas holiday period I offered to participate rather than go straight into the Services game without even a hit at the nets. My scores against Queensland were 68 and 52 not out, though both were of a somewhat painstaking character.

I was not much better against the Services. Certainly the scorebook says I made 112… The winter of 1946 was devoted to building up my health… I was a shadow of myself, physically, mentally and in cricket form. One journalist wrote of my play: "I have today seen the ghost of a great cricketer and ghosts seldom come back to life."

Bradman was in very poor health during the Australian winter of 1946, and it was doubtful of playing in any of the first post-war tests with Hammond’s MCC team. His first game was in October 1946, South Australia v MCC (scoring 76 & 3). "Further batting practice" (as Wakley says in Bradman the Great) as captain for an Australian X1 v MCC saw another century (106) in November. As captain of South Australia v Victoria he batted for over three hours for 43 & 119.

Ten days later he captained Australia v England in the first Test at Brisbane, and after one of the shakiest starts in his career, scored a match-winning 187, in over 5 hours. His 3rd wicket partnership with Hassett yielded 276 in 278 minutes. He had played himself back into form, which continued into the Second Test in Sydney ten days later. Despite a leg injury (which forced him to drop down the order), he batted for over 6 hours in scoring a chanceless 234. His partnership of 405 with Sid Barnes (234) still stands a the World’s Record for any 5th wicket partnership. It is the highest for any wicket against any touring team in Australia.

As Wakley records: "In making a century in one innings or the other of eight consecutive Test matches in which he batted (all against England), Bradman performed an unsurpassed feat." Bradman also became the oldest player to make a double century in Tests between England and Australia.

In January 1947 the Third Test was played in Melbourne, where he scored 79 and 49. In the Adelaide Test , Bedser bowled Bradman for a duck. He was 56 not out in the second innings, and Australia had won the Ashes – despite Denis Compton’s century in each innings (147 & 103*).

The final Test in Sydney in late February saw scores of 12 and 63 in Australia’s win, Bradman completing 1032 runs for the season at a average of 79.38. His Test average was 97.14 from 680 runs scored. Bradman had clawed his way from injury an illness into something close to his pre-war form. Later that year he gave this bat to the current vendor’s family. The bat comes with rare cricket ephemera - 2 metre original telegraphs pf the series - including the world-record partnership, and a 46-47 scrapbook.

Further information and bidding on www.lawsonmenzies.com.au


GRANDER THAN THE URN - THE LOST ASHES TRAY

THE ASHES TRAY, DATED 1882-1883, ESTIMATE: $200,000-$300,000.

THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF CRICKETING HISTORY HELD IN A PRIVATE COLLECTION FOR 120 YEARS TO BE AUCTIONED BY LAWSON MENZIES, ON NOVEMBER 19 AT 212 CUMBERLAND STREET, SYDNEY

The silver presentation tray, bears the engraved inscription:

'Presented to Sir William & Lady Clarke As a tribute of friendship & esteem By the English cricketers in Australia 1882-1883', within a floral latticework border, and bearing autographed signatures of the eight English amateurs surrounding, engraved into the face, including Captain Ivo Bligh, Read, Studd, Steel, Charles and George Studd, Tylecote, Leslie and Vernon, raised on four ball feet, Martin & Hall, Sheffield 1880.

Length: 37 cm,Width: 29 cm. Height at handles: 5.5 cm. Weight: 1480 gms.

William Clarke was President of the Melbourne Cricket Club and had traveled to London to see the Australians defeat England at the Oval in August 1882. The Clarkes, with their staff, then traveled to Australia with the Honourable Ivo Bligh and his English touring team on the steamer Peshawar. Bligh, the 23 year-old second son of the Earl of Darnley, had vowed to bring back "the Ashes" to England.

While still at sea, Queen Victoria approved the Baronetcy for Clarke, who was then President of the Melbourne Cricket Club, sponsors of the English tourists. Their ship arrived in Melbourne on November 12 and local papers broke the story of Australia's first Baronetcy on November 21. The English team, of 8 amateurs and 4 professionals, stayed over the Christmas break at Clarke's immense property, 'Rupertswood' near Sunbury, and played a cricket match there on Christmas Eve 1882. Lady Clarke had a servant burn a bail on the lawns (or probably Florence Morphy's veil), and this was put in a small pottery urn titled 'The Ashes', with the following poem (attached later in February 1883):


When Ivo goes back with the urn, the urn;
Studds, Steel, Read and Tylecote return, return;
The welkin will ring loud,
The great crowd will feel proud,
Seeing Barlow and Bates with the urn, the urn;
And the rest coming home with the urn.

This was then presented to Bligh by Sir William Clarke, who acknowledged the ladies of the household's efforts in its creation, before the First Test in Melbourne on December 30, which Australia duly won. England won the Second Test in Melbourne and the Third Test in Sydney on January 26 1883. In Sydney Bligh was staying with the Fletchers in Paddington, and was given a velvet bag made by Mrs Annie Fletcher (nee Clarke), to "carry" the Ashes home. And so the jest continued, and was accepted.

Bligh returned to Melbourne and had crafted a letter opener from a bail from this Test, and gave this item to Lady Clarke. It is still with a branch of the Clarke family. He even challenged an 'All Australia' X1 to a fourth match, which Australia duly won in February 1883. Following a final tour match against Victoria, Florence Morphy and her lady friends told Bligh that the velvet bag (made in Sydney!) was not grand enough for the Ashes, and he proposed to Florence Morphy at 'Rupertswood', and gave the Clarkes the silver tray. The gifted tray was to carry the urn and other Ashes 'relics', till Bligh's return to finally claim his bride.

The tour was an incredible success for Clarke's Melbourne Cricket Club, and the 8 English amateurs were made Honorary Life Members of the Club at a dinner on March 13 1883. The silver tray was given to Sir William and Lady Clarke as a final reminder of Bligh and his team, and a grander gesture in return for the little Ashes urn.

The urn stayed in Melbourne at the Clarke family's residences, till Bligh returned later in 1883. Ivo Bligh and Florence Morphy were married at the 'Rupertswood' courtesy of the Clarkes on February 19 1884. The Bligh' s first child was born in Melbourne before they returned to England, and Bligh finally became the eighth Lord Darnley in 1900.

The current Lord Darnley has claimed that the Ashes urn is not a trophy, but "a personal and romantic keepsake" of his grandparents, and that the urn and the velvet bag will stay at Lords for safe-keeping. The Ashes silver tray is emblematic of the very real friendship between the English Captain and his Australian hosts, between the two MCCs. It is Bligh's direct response to the Ashes "poem" (above) with its engraved signatures of the English captain, vice-captain Tyelcote (who scored the game's first quadruple hundred); Steel (the series only century); and Read (whose top-scores of 75 and 66 helped win the Second and Third Tests, and with it, the Ashes).

The Ashes tray has been held within the Clarke family for 120 years, and is the only Ashes relic ever available for auction.

For further information/images contact Tom Thompson on (02) 9387 8672


 

 

MURALI IS THE DON OF TEST BOWLING SAYS WISDEN


Sri Lankan spinner, Muttiah Muralidaran, has been named by Wisden, alongside Don Bradman as the two greatest players in the history of Test cricket.

Wisden - the cricketer's Bible - judged the levels of a player's performance against the strength of the opposition, career length, and the importance of each contribution.

In his typical modest fashion, Murali said "I'm very surprised because No. 1 is a great honour and I don't rank myself so high." Now in Australia, preparing for his part in the One-Day series on December 22, he reflected on his previous tours in a pertinent fashion: "What I have gone through shouldn't happen to any other bowler, whether it be Brett Lee or Shoaib Akhtar. It is very hard to keep going when everyone is looking at you all the time, but everything is past and gone."

Our congratulations to him, and to all these esteemed players who employ the art of cricket

Batsmen
1 Don Bradman (Australia)
2 Sachin Tendulkar (India)
3 Viv Richards (West Indies)
4 Gary Sobers (West Indies)
5 Allan Border (Australia)
6 Jack Hobbs (England)
7 Ken Barrington (England)
8 Sunil Gavaskar (India)
9 Greg Chappell (Australia)
10 Brian Lara (West Indies)

Bowlers
1 Muttiah Muralidaran (Sri Lanka)
2 Richard Hadlee (New Zealand)
3 Syd Barnes (England)
4 Shane Warne (Australia)
5 Clarrie Grimmett (Australia)
6 Glenn McGrath (Australia)
7 Dennis Lillee (Australia)
8 Malcolm Marshall (West Indies)
9 Imran Khan (Pakistan)
10 Courtney Walsh (West Indies)

 


 

 


 

Going fast! CHUCKERS

Bernard Whimpress has put together an important book on the history of throwing in Australian cricket. He's published this in an elegant limited edition with only 80 for sale - and buying has been so fierce that there's only 20 left.

While only 112 pages, its got the lot, with case histories from the 1870s right through the more recent episodes involving Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee. Armed with tremendous knowledge, Whimpress documents each case in terms of the changing laws of the game, and helps clarify just how political many of these decisions were. Much light is cast on the farcical and ferocious attack on Murali for example:

"Muralitharan was called seven times by Darrell Hair in the Melbourne Test of 1995 and by Ross Emerson seven times in a one-day international match in 1996, and once in another in 1999. The umpires who passed the bowler in Australia included eight with test and one day international experience: Daryl Harper and Terry Prue five times, Steve Davis on four occassions, Peter Parker three, Tony McQuillan and Simon Taufel twice, and Steve Dunne and Khizar Hayat once.
Are we to assume that the minority view is the correct one? No-balling for throwing exposes a soft underside of umpiring ethics."

We rate this book as the most pertinent cricket book published in 2002. And what a bargain! Signed by the author in a lovely limited hardback edition for $56 (posted in Australia, more if overseas) from Roger Page, 10 Ekari Court, Yallambie Vic 3085.

PIC - Shoaib Akhtar bowling at Hurstville Oval December 2001.

     
   

 

It's not every day that cricket lovers far and wide might have some personal access to a truly great player, but with THE CHAPPELL WAY - www.chappellway.com.au - you've got it. This is truly the best site round for any player, coach or really any of us, mad on cricket, to engage in the difficult, the exquisite, the irrational, and the magical sides of the game; all under a great coach's eye.
The thing about Greg Chappell is that he is truly one of the twenty best batsman of all time - and he is accessible. What a rare character he is.

What you have here is a totally engagingGreg Chappell interactive site for EVERY cricketer, every lover of the game, from someone who has really thought the pointed things through. Greg was captain of Australia 48 times and a veteran of 87 Tests. He scored over 7000 runs at Test level at an average of 53.86! He was at the earliest stages of the one-day game and his average there was 56.80! And, he had to put up with his brother Ian, as well...

Now he's on-line! As far as I'm concerned, Greg Chappell has taken on the Don's mantle of all-out encouragement of free and natural play, and that players must take on a long term teaching role. And he's taking it it into your house. Well Greg has gone from the city of Churches, and armed with his own (truly invincible) family history, and from Don's city-of-choice; he has offered up something free-flowing and valuable to the cricketing world.


This site is utterly recommended.


Tom Thompson
Publisher
Bradman Copyright Materials


   

 


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For further information about ETT Imprint, contact the publisher,
Tom Thompson: PO Box R.1906, Royal Exchange NSW 1225 Australia. e-mail