Sport Cricket Would Bradman have made it as a T20 player?
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Would Bradman have made it as a T20 player?

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Sir Donald Bradman hit six sixes in his 80 Test match innings. Aaron Finch smashed 14 sixes in a single Twenty20 international for Australia.

Clearly, Bradman played at a time when batsmen scored at much slower rates – but how would the greatest batsman of all time have fared in a T20 match?

The Don’s run rate statistics won’t really provide a compelling argument for anyone who thought he would have excelled.

Although cricket experts Jim Maxwell and Gideon Haigh told The New Daily they don’t agree.

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Bradman’s Test strike rate, according to CricBuzz, was 71.4, but in T20 internationals that kind of figure would have him nowhere near the best.

For example, Finch (152.41), Shahid Afridi (148.25), Shane Watson (144.05) and Chris Gayle (142.59) all averaged a better strike rate by virtually double that of Bradman’s.

Bradman’s best strike rate for a single innings was 102.89, when he scored 71 runs off 69 balls against England in Sydney.

Finch scored 156 off 63 balls in the T20 match where he hit 14 sixes.

A comparison between Bradman’s Test stats and David Warner’s T20 stats show the Don did his thing in a much more patient style of game.

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Reading all the numbers, it seems the Don might have battled to make a fist of things in the most modern form of the game.

However, two of cricket’s foremost voices say Bradman would have adjusted with no problems.

Here’s why Bradman would have ‘dominated’ T20

Legendary ABC Grandstand commentator Jim Maxwell and cricket author/journalist Gideon Haigh told The New Daily that Bradman would have been good enough to acclimatise to T20 cricket.

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Bradman had an unorthodox grip, according to Jim Maxwell. Photo: Getty

“I would imagine that Bradman being Bradman, he would have been in anything that was going,” Maxwell said.

“Given his adaptability and hand-eye coordination he would have come up with something.

“He was a remarkable player and you could say he was sort of limited to playing a way that was kind of acceptable at the time, even though he was fairly unorthodox with his grip.

“I would have thought he’d adapt to anything that was going.

“He had extraordinary skill. You watch him hitting that golf ball with a cricket stump and you’d think he could adapt to whatever it was.”

Haigh agreed: “Of course he would have. And he’d have dominated it.

“He was a brilliant all-round sportsman: golf, tennis, table tennis, royal tennis. Put a challenge in front of him, and he’d have devoted himself to overcoming it.

“He was nerveless, thrived on big occasions. As a batsman, he was a master of manipulating fields and monopolising strike. He was a brilliant outfielder and a super smart captain.”

Maxwell said he believed Bradman would have been agile enough to learn to craft his game based on other more accomplished T20 figures.

“I would have thought he would have seen what others were doing if you threw him into the mix,” he said.

“It’s a bit like that story that goes around late in his life when someone asked him: ‘How do you think you would have gone against Malcolm Marshall, Don?’.

Finch hit more sixes in an innings than Bradman did in a career. Photo: AAP
Finch hit more sixes in an innings than Bradman did in a career. Photo: AAP

“And Don said: ‘Oh yeah, I probably would have gone alright’.

“‘You reckon you would have averaged a hundred, Don?’

“‘Oh probably not but you’ve got to remember I’m 88 years of age’,” Bradman quipped.

Added Maxwell: “Great players adapt so I would not have thought there’d be any issue once he’d saw what he could do and using one of those bats that they use today I’m sure he’d get the gist of it.”

Haigh said the thick bats modern players use – compared to the old-style “matchsticks” Bradman had – would have helped too.

“He seldom hit the ball in the air, hitting only six sixes in his Test career,” Haigh said. “But place a Kaboom [David Warner’s very thick bat] in his hands and he would have hit the ball as far as anyone.”

But what about the ‘entertainment factor’?

It’s hard to imagine Bradman enjoying having a microphone strapped to him and sharing banter from the field with the fellas in the commentary box, Maxwell said.

“He didn’t like being interviewed at the best of times so that’s probably not a good idea.”

Haigh thought the “media savvy” Don might have been well-suited to the entertainment side of the game.

“Bradman was very media savvy,” he said, referencing his four books and numerous newspaper and television roles.

“Had it been required of him, Bradman would have had no trouble talking to commentators live.”

Both Haigh and Maxwell also believed that Bradman was skilled enough to develop the broad array and range of unorthodox shots that are favoured in T20.

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