Beginning on November 23rd 2017 Thursday, at the GABBA cricket ground in Brisbane, is the first Ashes test match between bitter rivals England and Australia. Now, the Ashes comprising of five test test matches is a traditional series that has been played between the two countries mentioned above for over 100 years. In the cricketing world, most of the Ashes series played over the years have proven to be what can be defined as a “sporting spectacle”. However, it was the 1932-33 “Bodyline” Ashes Series that not only became an “engaging cricketing spectacle” but a “controversial” one too. Now, the major reason behind this series generating such controversy was simply due to a cricketing tactic called “Bodyline” (attacking the body of the batsmen) employed by England to stop the Australian batsmen from scoring runs. So, here presenting a list of 3 players that played key roles in helping the series acquire “legendary” status within the world of cricket.
1. Don Bradman- Right Handed Batsmen- Australia:
” 974 runs with an extremely healthy average of 139.14″ is what Australian master batsman Don Bradman had managed to muster up during the 1930 Ashes series held in England. It was this magnificent performance by this “genius” of a batsman hailing from New South Wales that compelled the English to work out a strategy specifically to curb him. And so to create a strategy for Don, Douglas Jardine the English captain apparently closely studied a video footage of Bradman batting at the Oval in the 1930 series. It was while watching the video he observed that a short pitched ball targeting his body made him uncomfortable. And thus, a strategy which was later named “Bodyline” was created by Jardine to stop this great Australian batsman, since he seriously believed it was the only way to regain the Ashes they had lost in 1930.
2. Douglas Jardine- Captain and Right Handed Batsman- England:
“Its fucking mutual” Douglas Jardine, the captain of England is said to have remarked when he was informed that the Australian spectators disliked him. It is this deep hatred for the Australians that became one of the major reason why Jardine wanted to win back the Ashes at any cost. And so, Jardine being a shrewd tactician realized that the only way they could overcome the Australians would be to form a strategy that would help curb the prolific scoring of Bradman. He therefore then studied the Don closely, and realized that he was slightly uncomfortable against balls that were aimed at the body. It was as a result of having detecting this apparent weakness in the master batsman that Jardine devised a tactic in which “a bowler bowls at the body of the batsmen with majority of the fielders placed close in on the leg side”, which was eventually officially referred to as “Bodyline”. In fact, such was Jardine’s arrogance that he continued to use this strategy throughout the series despite it almost becoming a diplomatic issue between the two countries. This refusal of Douglas to avoid using this strategy tragically also resulted in wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield fracturing his skull.
3. Harold Larwood- Right Arm Fast Bowler- England:
“Fast, furious, and accurate” would be the best way to describe English fast bowler Harold Larwood, a key reason why the “Bodyline” strategy proved to be successful. He was basically chosen as the spearhead of an all pace attack also comprising of Bill Voce and Bills Bowes by Jardine, specifically to implement the lethal Bodyline strategy. It is said that before traveling to Australia Douglas arranged a meeting at the Piccadillly Hotel in London with both Larwood and Voce to discuss the tactics he intended to use in Australia. During this meeting both the fast bowlers agreed with their captain that the Bodyline strategy could be implemented, and may even prove successful. Furthermore, throughout the series it was Harold who proved to be most effective using this aggressive strategy scalping 33 wickets at an outstanding average of 19.52.
With this controversial “Bodyline” series having already completed 84 years, it can confidently be stated that there has not been, and there shall not be a series like this played on a cricket pitch ever again.
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