The objectives of the Bradman Foundation and in turn The International Cricket Hall of Fame is to ensure the Bradman name remains synonymous with cricket and his core values; courage, honour, humility, integrity and determination.
These core values seem more relevant in today’s world than ever before. Our cricket programs educate children about not only how to play cricket but about the values that are required to play the game well, to live a good life and contribute to society. In displaying objects about cricket we aim to tell the stories of these values. Stories about courage, about honour, humility, integrity and determination.
Courage. cour·age [kur-ij, kuhr-] noun. the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
It seems fitting to talk about courage in the context of Sir Donald Bradman through a few of the items the museum collection. Let’s start with a bat, the bat that Bradman used in Sheffield, England while scoring 140 in the Australia vs. Yorkshire match on 16 July 1934.
This story isn’t so much about the bat as what the bat represents… courage under extreme circumstances. In 1934 Bradman had been feeling unwell in the lead up to the tour of England. His doctors couldn’t diagnose anything specific so Bradman continued to play, albeit not up to his usual high standards. He was ill throughout the tour, but in the Fourth Test at Headingley he scored 304 runs followed by 244 in the 5th test at The Oval. Just before departing England he was struck down with dreadful abdominal pain and was rushed to hospital to be operated on. Australian surgeon Sir Douglas Shields found an enlarged, ruptured and septic appendix! Over the next few days Bradman was close to death but slowly recovered and spent some months recuperating before returning to Australia.
Who of us would not only play cricket in that condition but play to the very best of our ability without complaint, fear or fuss?
Another example of Bradman’s courage is embodied in a portrait that welcomes visitors to the Bradman Gallery at The International Cricket Hall of Fame. The portrait is titled Walk to Glory and it records Bradman entering the MCG for the 3rd Test of the 1936/37 Ashes Series, for his second innings which ultimately won the game.
In 1936, Bradman was a 28 year old whose wife had recently given birth to their first child, who sadly only lived a few days. In the weeks after their son’s death Bradman was the Captain of Australia (for the first time) for the England tour of Australia. Bradman honored his commitment to his team and his country and played the series, leading the team to victory in three matches and ultimately the series, all the while shouldering his grief.