Published By: Akashdeep

Four Names Better Than Bradman – Really?

Fans unanimously consider Sir Don Bradman the original GOAT of cricket! 

Let us start this article by apologising to all cricket enthusiasts who might perceive questioning Bradman's prowess as sacrilegious. However, we question beliefs, adhering proudly to "Socratic questioning." While the prevailing global agreement recognises Bradman as the greatest cricketer ever, dissenting voices are challenging this widely accepted view. This article doesn't aim to directly compare Bradman with those deemed superior; rather, it functions as a compilation of individuals who, at different points, were regarded as surpassing Bradman. 

George Headley

George Headley, dubbed the "Black Bradman," was a pioneering stroke-maker from the West Indies. Born in non-cricketing Panama, his early cricketing prowess earned him the moniker. Exposed to the sport in Jamaica, Headley, at 19, showcased prodigious batting skills. Despite facing discrimination, he joined the West Indies team and toured Australia in 1930/31, countering perceptions about his off-side dominance. Notably, his response to Australian bowler Clarrie Grimmett's strategy shift highlighted his adaptability. Described by Bradman as strong on the leg side, Headley's stylish demeanour and prolific wet wicket performances made him a beacon for black cricketers, laying the foundation for Caribbean cricket's success. "The Atlas" carried the West Indies, achieving a remarkable average of 60.83 in 22 matches with ten centuries. 

Jack Hobbs

Regarded as the greatest opening batsman, Jack Hobbs amassed staggering records, playing 834 first-class games with 61,760 runs at an average of 50.70. In international cricket, he scored 5,410 runs at 56.94, often on challenging tracks. Born in 1882, Hobbs faced early poverty but fell in love with cricket, self-teaching, and unique practice. Joining Surrey in 1903, he impressed, but his golden era began at 40, achieving 98 centuries post that age. Averaging over 96 in winning causes, he played at the top for 30 years. Peers like Bob Wyatt and Geoff Boycott hailed him as superior to Bradman in all batting aspects.

Archie Jackson

Cricket's cruelty intensifies when death claims a young soul. Archie Jackson, a gifted Australian cricketer, debuted at 19 in 1929. Facing Harold Larwood, he scored a remarkable century, displaying grace and swashbuckling strokes. Tuberculosis gripped him, hampering his health and limiting his performance. Despite health struggles, Jackson's elegance endured.

In the 1930 Bodyline series, he bravely faced ballistic bowling, emphasising good sportsmanship. Larwood recalled how Jackson considered himself part of the team, appreciating opponents' efforts. Despite being struck, Jackson maintained a jovial spirit. Tragically, he succumbed to tuberculosis in 1933 at 23, leaving an unfulfilled promise. Some believed he could surpass Bradman, but his premature death allowed Bradman to claim the title of the greatest batter!

Mahadevan Sathasivam

Mahadevan Sathasivam, fondly known as Satha, faced an unfortunate fate born in Sri Lanka's pre-Test cricket era, leaving his cricket legacy in limbo. Limited first-class appearances obscure his batting brilliance, remembered through anecdotes from peers. His standout innings in 1947 at Chennai's Chepauk, scoring a commanding 215 against South India, earned him acclaim as Chepauk's finest. In 1950, he made a strong impression against the Commonwealth XI, earning applause from Frank Worrell. When facing India, led by Vijay Merchant, Satha's score of 111 was memorable, praised by Vinoo Mankad as the most challenging batsman he bowled to. Despite a career tainted by legal troubles, Sathasivam's migration to Malaysia saw him captain for both Malaysia and Singapore.

Although it's debatable whether these players on the list were better than the legendary Sir Don Bradman, it can surely be an argument. Cricket, in any era, is a matter of perspective. Who the greatest of a particular generation is can never be determined by statistics alone, as it is connected to one's emotions!