The 4th August 2008 was a special day for cricket fans from all around the world who gathered together to celebrate the life and career of legendary sportsman Don Bradman. Why August 4th? It was on this day that the late Don would have turned 99.94 years old. This number was of course, Bradman’s unsurpassed Test batting average, statistically claimed to be the greatest sporting achievement of all time.
No other man in the history of the game produced such an outstanding record, with a batting average almost twice as high as the next best players. His gentlemanly conduct both on and off the field made him an ornament to the game and endeared him to the nation. He embodied cricketing qualities that now seem to belong to a bygone age.
Cricket was always seen as a gentleman’s sport, and the expressions used on the cricket field have eventually become a part of our everyday language.
There’s the expression ‘it’s just not cricket’ when referring to an unfair practice. To act honestly is to ‘play a straight bat’, and being in a tricky situation is said to be caught on ‘a sticky wicket’.
If you’re overwhelmed, you could be said to be ‘hit for six’, while doing something ‘off your own bat’ means doing it yourself, referring to the stronger of two batsmen who tries to keep the strike.
A politician might be said to ‘let that one go through to the keeper’ when asked a ticklish question by a reporter that he doesn’t deign to answer.
Performing a ‘hat trick’ came from the practice of awarding a new hat to a bowler who takes three wickets with three successive balls, or sometimes the captain would pass his hat round to collect money to present to the bowler.
So all in all the noble game of cricket has contributed many expressions to the English language and with that I think I’ll ‘draw stumps’ and ‘take my bat and ball and go home’!
Did you know?: Don Bradman has been the subject of more biographies than any other Australian, apart from the outlaw Ned Kelly.
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