Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bodyline Series (1932-1933)

Bodyline Series played between 2nd December 1932- 28th Feb 1933 played between cricket teams of England and Australia in Australia. If you refer to any cricket Guru or pundit, then you'll know that this is one of the most remembered cricket series ever played. You can call it the "Most Notorious" series of all time.

Hunter and Pray

High Points of the series was the BODYLINE strategy, which was invented by  the English Captain Douglas Jardine(in pic) with the captain of an English Country Team Nottinghamshire, Arther Curr with his fast bowlers Harold Larwood and Bill Voce. This strategy was especially tailor made to get rid of Don Bradman(in pic) as soon as possible because Don Bradman was always a threat to the English team and was majorly responsible for holding England from winning against Australia. Don Bradman made a whooping 974 runs in the previous 5 match series of 1930 in England with an average of 139.14 which still is a record to be broken. Jardine knew how dangerous can Bradman be again to his team and he wanted to win the series at any cost this time. Though, the strategy was successful and England won the series 4-1 but Don Bradman still made lot of runs at an average of 56.

The Rebel/ Protagonist

Iftekhar Ali Khan, well you should remember him by his name but if you don't know him then he was the great father of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, another Indian Cricketing legend. I.A Khan was selected in the English team to play against Australia in the bodyline series. He made a century on Debut - 102. But, when he came across the bodyline strategy put up by his captain Douglas Jardine, he refused to take field or participate cause he thought it was not in the spirit of the game. He was dropped of the team after the test match and never played in the series in the team again.

Douglas Jardine said "I see His Highness is a conscientious objector." 

Towards the end of the tour, Pataudi commented, "I am told he has his(Douglas Jardine) good points. In three months I have yet to see them." 

Bodyline Strategy

So, now what Bodyline Strategy was????

Bodyline Strategy was when a bowler bowls short pitched delivery aiming towards the body, between rig cage and head to be specific, trying to make batsman play or loop the ball in the air on leg side and hoping that one the fielders will catch it. This tactic was considered by many to be intimidatory and physically threatening.

Although, there wasn't any serious injuries from the series but it brought a ill feeling between the teams which led to diplomatic controversies. This strategy was treated to be bad for the spirit of cricket and many laws in the coming years were made to avoid such practice again in future.

"OK, which of you bastards called Larwood a bastard instead of this bastard."
Richardson on opening the dressing-room door to face Jardine demanding an apology after he overheard one of the Australians sledging Larwood. Ref- Cricinfo

 You can find more infamous quotes of the series from the same link.

Some of the picture's i found.

Though, the series was notorious but the high points would be the passion and killer instinct with which English players played the game and haven't seen the same in years till now.
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