Nearly seven decades have passed since the great Sir Don Bradman called it quits from international cricket. However, even after these 70 years, Neil Harvey, the only surviving member of that particular team still feels he is guilty of Bradman’s failure to end his Test career without an average of 100 or more.
Bradman needed just four runs in his last Test innings to record the exceptional feat. However, he got out on a duck and ended his career on an average of 99.94 which remains the best by far. Meanwhile, he was castled by a good delivery from Eric Hollies of England at the Oval back on 14th August 1948.
In the previous Test, Bradman was batting on 173 when Neil Harvey walked in the middle and finished off the match with a boundary to give Australia a seven-wicket victory over England and take a 3-0 lead in the series. Harvey feels had he not hit that four, Bradman could well have pulled off the unreal feat of averaging 100 in Test cricket.
However, during an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Harvey said he feels guilty of not allowing Bradman to finish his career with an average of 100.
Neil Harvey feels guilty of not allowing Don Bradman average more than 100 in Test cricket
“That four at Leeds makes me feel very guilty. Its entirely my fault Don Bradman didn’t average 100 in Test cricket. If he would have scored those four runs instead of me, he’d have got there,” Harvey said.
However, Harvey turns 90 on Monday and is the only surviving member from the Australia squad of Bradman’s era.
“I went in and Ken Cranston, a seam bowler from Lancashire, bowled this thing on my leg stump, and I whacked it through mid-wicket for four. The public charging onto the ground and I can still remember Bradman yelling, ‘come on son, let’s get out of here,” Harvey recalled. It must be noted that Harvey struck 21 centuries in 79 Test career.
The batsman stated he could never recover from the guilt of unknowingly denying Bradman of ending his career with a bang. Harvey said nobody knew about statistics at that time and not even Bradman was aware that he was just four runs short of averaging 100 in Test cricket.
“I’m quite willing to take the blame. But I didn’t know he was going to get a duck in his last Test match … nobody knew Bradman needed four runs at Leeds; nobody knew he needed four runs when he played in his last Test at The Oval,” Harvey pointed out.
“Statistics were never mentioned back then; there was no television, and no one in the press seemed to know. When the poor bloke was bowled, that was it. He wasn’t going to get another chance because we dismissed England for 52 in their first innings.”