Remembering Bradman 20 Years On

25/02/21 Category: Blog Posted by:

Twenty years since Bradman’s passing,
his vision for the game is well intact.

Twenty years on since the passing of Sir Donald Bradman, his legacy – as batsman, cricket administrator and cultural icon more generally – remains as strong as ever. His records inside the boundary rope remain untouched, and the desire of the cricketing public to denote the ‘best since Bradman’ only confirms his unparalleled excellence remains front of mind.

Perhaps the most formative twenty years of cricket since those that spanned his two-decade Test career, those since his passing have seen cricket evolve at a rapid speed. Before his death, Bradman shared his vision that “cricket continues to flourish and spread its wings. The world can only be richer for it.” So, while initially perturbed by the transition to World Series Cricket, shortened formats and coloured clothing, he could be proud of the various developments that these changes have facilitated; think Australian women’s cricket watershed moment at the MCG in front of 87,000 doting fans, the rise and rapture surrounding the world’s premier t20 bowler, Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.

International cricket as we know it for both men and women, increased television exposure and a boom in participation, especially for the female game, have all acted as flow-on effects of cricket’s preparedness to change. Moreover, the exponential growth of the game’s shortest format – particularly the proliferation of domestic leagues the world over – has allowed for increased professionalism, meaning many more can dedicate themselves to the game. While The Don himself preferred to keep the ball along the ground, his traditionally rapid scoring rate might have seen him come around the t20 format.

Endlessly humble, he was initially a touch reserved about the idea of having a Museum dedicated to his honour. That said, the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame, located in his home town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, has come to represent so much more than just the Bradman name. Giving due credit to Australia’s greatest sporting icon, the Bradman Museum gives precedence to the important role that cricket plays around the world, as it unites countries and cultures.

Acting to honour Bradman’s wish that the Museum would “Inspire the youth to develop the character traits of courage and humility to create stronger cricketing communities around the world” the Museum and Foundation continue to promote engagement and education through cricket. The Bradman Scholarship is at the forefront of this, as the Bradman Foundation supports undergraduate students in their cricketing and university pursuits. Moreover, the Bradman Foundation has initiated the Coverdrive Disabilities Program to help engage and educate children with disabilities through a range of sporting programs. Running since 2016, the program highlights the benefits that sport and in particular cricket can have on bringing community together and helping individuals to excel.

To that end, Bradman was especially keen to ensure that young people were taught to play the game in the right spirit; always placing a respect for the spirit and laws of the game above an individual’s skill. The Bradman Foundation runs regular junior clinics to ensure that young boys and girls are taught to play with a passion and respect for the game befitting of the iconic Bradman Oval setting.

Twenty years is a long time in cricket. In many ways, the game is unrecognisable from the one that Bradman left behind on the 25th February 2001; he and Jardine were certainly never left contemplating a Bash Boost point. Transition notwithstanding, Bradman’s indelible impact on the game he loved remains. The cricketing community continues to hold firm on his vision, and indeed, the world is richer for it. 

 About the Bradman Museum

The Bradman Museum in Bowral NSW is a history-making charitable trust. Supported by Sir Donald Bradman, to recognise and celebrate the past, the present and the possibilities through cricket. Whether it’s the Museum’s oldest bat from c. 1750, to Don’s childhood blade, Justin Langer’s Baggy Green or  Belinda Clark’s Collection of career match worn clothing, the living museum provides cricket with a trusted and safe place to preserve its memories, record its accomplishments and tell stories of its great characters.

The story of cricket is a fabulous vehicle to communicate strong messages on issues that unite; the Bradman Foundation is a uniting force for the future.

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