Sir Donald Bradman is neither a Dalai Lama nor a Sir Garfield Sobers.

On Bradman’s centenary year, it is interesting to study the difference between how Sir Donald Bradman and Sir Gary Sobers handled their fame and the legacy.
Even a cursory look reveals a glaring contrast. The Don comes across as a person who acts and behaves as if he is royalty and makes his displeasure to mingle obvious whereas Sobers comes across as earthy and not beyond soiling his hands.
Nothing illustrates this more than the incidents involving Lara and Tendulkar.
When Lara broke the batting record, Sir Gary Sobers was at the ground and had no reservations going up to the pitch along with multitude of spectators to congratulate him. Now here is one man who is simple and informal to the core.
In sharp contrast, there is the incident of Don granting an audience to Tendulkar as if he (the Don) was royalty. His whole attitude was pompous and his compliments condescending.
One cannot shake off the impression that the Don was overtly concerned about leaving an unsullied legacy. The trust that runs Don’s estate was particular that all of Don’s actions and words carried the same significance of say a Dalai Lama’s words and deeds to his followers.
Sadly, to some including this blogger, it made Don appear a sanctimonious ass.
Given a choice, one would rather leave everything to shake Sir Garfield Sobers hand. He is the perfect example of a cricketing legend comfortable with his fame and levelheaded enough to acknowledge to himself that he is a mere mortal.
As I was saying, Don is no Dalai Lama nor is he Sobers. What is your take?


Blogger Ravindran said...

Don I think was not healthy enough to move abt like sobers . and Don after retirement nrarely showed up at gathering. much. And sobers beloneged to a very jolly fun loving society.

28/08/2008, 14:39  
Blogger Naked Cricket said...

most guys know him by the numbers. and that numbs them beyond an opionion on the man, what do they care?

sure CA and the Don's estate pump a lot into his image management even today. he's an aussie icon not a man. dunno how it is to be living icon, but it sounds a tad tiring.

Richie Benaud said when delivering the eulogy at Bradman's funeral, he was also a sportsman.
"And it wasn't just for a few sessions, or a few days, it was for all eras"

For me it's aura mgt, and we tend to believe in the aura that is created. Love or loathe, very little grey in between.

28/08/2008, 15:05  
Blogger Ottayan said...


I accept that the Don was feeble to go out. But I dislike how he compared Tendulkar to himself.

That is a comment of a man who cannot see beyond his own nose and thinks there is no one to surpass him.

28/08/2008, 15:29  
Blogger Ottayan said...


Admirably said.

I have long held the belief, that Don's numbers and name was due to his success against the English.

As we all know even today most of us write cricket in the style of the British.

So and as writers and readers we tend to accept what these pen-pushers says.

So whatever is written by them becomes the truth.

28/08/2008, 15:33  
Anonymous Park said...

Off the field Don polarised people; some in his team disliked him. Bill O'Reilly, Jack Fingleton chief among them. Ian Chappell found him pompous in his dealings as ACB Chairman.

But to be fair to Bradman he was 90 when he spoke to Tendulkar and I thought was pretty gracious in his admiration of him; although he too rated Sobers the greatest of all players so you might have a point. If I get to 90 I am getting home delivery when it comes to champion batsmen, too.

29/08/2008, 05:49  
Blogger Ottayan said...


Welcome back. How is the football (rugby) season going?

I am glad that you agree with 90% of what I wrote.

I agree wholeheartedly with your last sentence.

29/08/2008, 06:44  
Anonymous Park said...

The rugby is going very well, thanks Ott. The Wallabys finally beat the Springboks in South Africa after eight years of trying. Beating South Africans at home is never a bad thing, even better when they are World Champions.

I agree with some what you say, mainly regarding Sobers.:) Bradman seemed a pretty private person and not extroverted or gregarious like Sobers. The rarity of his public comment has driven up the value of any of his utterings. Whether that makes him a sanctimonious ass is where we diverge. I think Tendulkar may have more in common with Bradman than just their excellence in batting and in the way they have been deified. Both seem quiet and self-contained, smaller and tighter personalities than their actions would seem to befit. In the absence of theatre people may project their own.

29/08/2008, 10:35  
Blogger Ottayan said...


Glad to know that your team beat the Bok's.

Regarding Don, I respect your opinion. As you rightly pointed out, the difference is due to perception and hence I leave it uncontested. :)

29/08/2008, 10:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Don's comparing of Sachin to himself had less to do with him not being able to see beyond his nose and more to do with both their styles being very similar. I remember people talking about both of them not favoring a classical cover drive (bent knees and all that).

However, I think that leads to an interesting question. Sachin has had to tinker with his technique a lot as bowlers find chinks in his armor. Case in point, he was very susceptible hitting on the up (long considered one of his strengths) against Akram and he had to find a work around. If Don had been playing in this era, what would the bowlers/captains have found? Remember somebody did find a 'famous' supposed weakness.

30/08/2008, 01:22  
Blogger Ottayan said...


The reason I brought forth the Sachin incident was to highlight the fact that Don has never complimented any other batsmen.(At least I haven't read or heard it.)

I have never come across anything he said about Lara.( I may be as usual wrong.)

This is what I meant when I said that the Don could not see beyond his nose.

To elaborate, Don took himself as the absolute when it comes to batting and hence chose to compliment Sachin as their batting styles were similar.

Ponder - isn't he a ......ass? :)

30/08/2008, 07:25  

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