Thursday, January 06, 2005

Bradman's balls, Tsunami appeals, and Habibul Bashar

If it was not bad enough to hear normally distinguished gents like Ian Chappell and Mark Taylor flogging the latest piece of strictly limited edition Sir Sonald Bradman memorabilia during the broadcast of the Pakistan-Australia Test at Sydney, the gent has struck once more. But first, let me not be the one to discourage you from buying yourself a slice of history. The "limited edition" - yes, for the charitable people at the Bradman foundation 974 is limited - high-quality ball featuring a full-colour portrait and a signature, mounted on some special wood thingamajiggy, costs a mere Aus $ 1440.

At a time when the world is opening its collective wallet to donate to the victims of the Tsunami tragedy that has devastated South Asia, the Bradman Foundation is selling cricket balls that you can't even chuck around in the backyard for a mere Aus$ 1440. Of course, the editorial board at Not Cricinfo is not one to thrust its views down your throat. If you'd like to buy the ball, click here. On the other hand, you may like to give a tenth of that money to the Red Cross appeal, click here.

But, that's not only why we're a bit miffed with Bradman this day.

The man they call the Bangla Bradman, Habibul Bashar, led flawlessly from the front after winning the toss and choosing to bat against Zimbabwe. In fact, he was, as usual, the backbone of the innings, with 94 out of the team's 280. But, and you may well abuse us for this, we strongly believe that it was the bad luck of the Bradman tag that pushed the cricketing gods into denying Bashar a century in a match that will go down in history books as Bangladesh's first Test triumph. Bradman wasn't unlucky? Can you imagine anyone else ever getting so close to a magical 100 average and being denied?

If the powers that be needed to shave 0.06 of a point from an average, couldn't they have chosen Graeme Pollock (60.97), George Headley (60.83), or anyone else to whom it wouldn't have made the slightest difference?

No the couldn't. Because it wouldn't have hurt anyone as much as it did Bradman. And therein lies the tragedy in Bashar being unfairly called The Bangla Bradman. He too earned the wrath of the cricketing gods.

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