It is a measure of the great man’s astonishing gifts that when author Alf Batchelder was asked for a few highlights from the research and writing of his book on Bradman at Melbourne, Only Yesterday, the print out ran to nine pages.
“It would be difficult for the modern generation to comprehend The Don’s enormous popularity,” says Alf, “but the MCG has never had a bigger drawcard and probably never will. Lillee and Warne combined wouldn’t come close.
“There were so many highlights. I was particularly interested in the pressures under which Bradman played. People might only see him play once a year, and everybody expected him to make a century whenever he came out to bat.
“He had the Board of Control on his back over various issues and when Bodyline erupted the entire nation expected him to demolish it. In combination, that was a heavy load for a 24-year-old.”
An MCC Library project published by Australian Scholarly, the Batchelder book fills many gaps in the reams of material written on Bradman. It is MCG-specific but his performances at Melbourne are set in the context of events surrounding him both nationally and overseas.
Cricket buffs won’t be able to put the 350-page, generously illustrated book down.
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