by Indra Vikram Singh
Biography of Don Bradman and a panaroma of batting from the 1860s to the present times
Published in India by Sporting Links
Paperback French Fold 11 x 8.5 x 0.4 inches
Available at an attractive price on Amazon https://www.amazon.in/dp/8190166859
The Book : The questions still asked are: how great was Don Bradman actually, was he just a run-getting machine and a statistical marvel, or was he truly the best there has ever been, have there been other batsmen as good or better than Bradman. Don’s Century analyses Bradman’s batting technique, brings forth his amazing achievements at the crease, and assesses the merits of other great batsmen from the 1860s to the present times. Written in the centenary year of the peerless Don Bradman, the book is a celebration of the life and magic of the willow of The Don, and also of the art of batting and indeed the game of cricket.
The 11-chapter book by Indra Vikram Singh, the only Indian biographer of Bradman, interspersed with stories and comments from legendary writers and cricketers alike, and extensively researched from scores of old publications, has three sections.
The main segment showcases Bradman’s days at the crease from Bowral to Sydney, on to Lord’s and Leeds, back to Adelaide, and finishing at The Oval in 1948. The legend begins with young Don’s rise to the top, his first fifty and hundred in the backwaters of Bowral, the maiden double century against Wingello and triple ton versus Moss Vale, hundred on first-class debut and on to Test cricket. Bradman’s legendary feats in the Test arena are recalled in all their magnificence, the hundreds in his first Test series, the unprecedented and still-unparalleled triumphs of the Ashes tour of 1930, and annihilation of the West Indies and South African teams.
The saga undergoes a dramatic twist with the vicious Bodyline attack that was devised solely to decimate the genius of Bradman. This chapter carries extracts from letters received by the author from England’s Bob Wyatt who was vice captain to Douglas Jardine during that infamous series.
The aftermath of Bodyline, Bradman’s exhilarating fightbacks on and off the field, how his stirring deeds brought solace to the suffering millions during the Great Depression, and his resilience as captain of Australia are presented lucidly, leading to the sabbatical brought about by the Second World War. The final lap of The Don’s career after the war, the firm hold on the Ashes, his exploits against the first Indian team after the nation’s independence, and finally the 1948 tour of England by his ‘Invincibles’ are described vividly and objectively. The text is supplemented by twenty scorecards detailing Bradman’s finest achievements in the first-class and Test arenas.
A large chapter in the middle is a panorama of batting portraying thirty-four of the best players down the ages, for no story of Sir Donald Bradman can be complete without an appraisal of other giants of the crease.
Commencing with the colossus of the Victorian era Dr. W.G. Grace, the captivating genius Prince Ranjitsinhji, the endearing and enthralling Victor Trumper from Australia, the complete master Sir Jack Hobbs, continuing with the likes of Frank Woolley, Charles ‘Governor General’ Macartney, Bill Ponsford, Walter Hammond, Stan McCabe, the forbear to West Indies giants George Headley, the brilliant South Africans Bruce Mitchell and Dudley Nourse, India’s Vijay Merchant, Sir Leonard Hutton, Dennis Compton, Neil Harvey, Arthur Morris, the inimitable Ws Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Clyde Walcott, the original little master Pakistan’s Hanif Mohammad, the incomparable Sir Garfield Sobers, Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Greg Chappell, Sunil Gavaskar, Sir Vivian Richards, arguably New Zealand’s finest Martin Crowe, Steve Waugh, the exhilarating Sri Lankan Aravinda de Silva, and concluding with the champions of the modern era Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden, and many more referred to down history, how good they were, and how they compared with each other and Bradman.
They include some of Bradman’s favourite players. This is not just a factual or statistical segment, but importantly talks about the epochs and conditions they played in, and also has interesting little tales. It traces the evolution and development of the game from W.G. Grace’s days in the 1860s till the present day.
The third and concluding part explores the vicissitudes of Bradman’s life, trials and tribulations, his persona, way of life and quest for excellence, the detractors, friends and family, post-retirement days and role as cricket administrator, and the final stretch of one of the most amazing stories ever, of a sporting hero and icon beyond compare. A handwritten letter from The Don received by the author Indra Vikram Singh in 1999, and an article based on it that he wrote at Bradman’s demise in 2001, are all featured in this tribute to the unquestioned king of kings of the crease.
There are nearly 100 classic photographs of Bradman and other greats in sepia brown from the top agencies of the world. A comprehensive statistics section highlighting Bradman’s accomplishments and records sums up the inspirational tale. A detailed index makes the book extremely user-friendly.
The Author : Hailing from the erstwhile royal family of Rajpipla, now in the state of Gujarat, India, Indra Vikram Singh is a heritage resort promoter, writer, author, editor and publisher. He is author of ‘Test Cricket – End of the Road?’ (Rupa & Co., 1992); ‘World Cup Cricket’ (Rupa & Co., 2002); ‘The Little Big Book of World Cup Cricket’ (edition I, Sporting Links, 2007); ‘The Little Big Book of World Cup Cricket’, edition II (ISBN 978-81-731422-0-8, Media Eight, 2011); ‘A Maharaja’s Turf’ (ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6, Sporting Links, 2011) on the triumph of his grandfather Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla in the Epsom Derby of England in 1934; ‘The Big Book of World Cup Cricket’ (ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3, Collector’s edition, Sporting Links, 2011); ‘Don’s Century’ (ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0, Sporting Links, 2011) which is a biography of Don Bradman and a panorama of batting from the 1860s to the present times; and ‘Crowning Glory’ (ISBN 978-81-901668-6-7, Sporting Links, 2011), a special supplement on India’s win in the ICC World Cup 2011.
The author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email firstname.lastname@example.org. His blogs http://www.indravikramsingh.blogspot.com and http://www.singhiv.wordpress.com offer an insight into his work, his family and heritage.
Chapter 1 : Born to Conquer
Chapter 2 : The Phenomenon
Chapter 3 : Sinister Plot
Chapter 4 : Truly Immortal
Chapter 5 : At the Helm
Chapter 6 : The Ageing Lion
Chapter 7 : Peerless Rungetter and Other Masters of the Willow
Chapter 8 : Reclusive and Focussed
Chapter 9 : The Game’s Ultimate Authority
Chapter 10 : Travails Off the Field
Chapter 11 : End of a Glorious Innings