While Bradman was leading Australia, Hitler’s aggression, which began with the occupation of the German Rhineland in 1936, and continued with the annexation of Austria in March 1938, was reaching its zenith. With a tentative
Britain and mute spectators in their
eagerness to avoid a conflagaration like the First World War, Hitler marched
on. In March 1939 his armies seized France Czechoslovakia,
and on September 1 attacked .
Poland Britain and
could not hold back any longer, and on September 3 announced a state of war.
Thus began the greatest conflict in history, which came to be known as the
Second World War of 1939-45. France
The War was to take away eight years of Bradman’s Test career, as of many other top cricketers then, and a quarter century earlier. First-class cricket, though, continued for a while in
In 1939-40, for the only time in his career, Bradman scored over a thousand
runs in a Australia Sheffield season, hitting up 1062
runs at an average of 132.75. In 9 first-class matches that season he
aggregated 1475 runs at 122.91 per innings with 5 hundreds, and a highest of
Bradman enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in June 1940, was transferred to the army as a physical training instructor at Frankston, Victoria, but was released on health grounds. Sheffield Shield was now suspended, and Bradman appeared in two first-class matches in 1940-41, scoring 0, 6, 0 and 12. For the next four seasons Bradman played no first-class cricket. By now he had aggregated 22,863 runs at an average of 95.66 with 92 hundreds.
In March 1944, the code phase that informed the Allied troops of the assault on the monastery at Monte Cassino in Italy was: “Bradman will be batting tomorrow.”
Now, with the long drawn war, health issues, creeping middle-age and a growing family, whether The Don would be able to stand up to the demands of top-grade cricket and the lofty standards that he had set himself, was a riddle that few could answer. Perhaps Bradman himself was not sure. In any event, no one knew what the new world, after the devastations of a long war, would bring in its wake. The First World War ended a glorious chapter in English cricket and gave rise to Warwick Armstrong’s great Australian side. Would the Second World War have the opposite effect, and bring to a close
’s years of supremacy?
There were more questions than answers. Australia
(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email email@example.com
Follow Indra Vikram Singh on Twitter @IVRajpipla).
Published by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0, Fully Illustrated
French Fold 21.5 cm x 28 cm, 188 Pages
Price Rupees 995
Indra Vikram Singh’s latest books published by Sporting Links:
A Maharaja’s Turf ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6
The Big Book of World Cup Cricket ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3
Don’s Century ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0
Crowning Glory ISBN 978-81-901668-6-7
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