Bodyline
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Bodyline, also known as fast leg theory bowling, was a
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bai ...

cricket
ing tactic devised by the
English cricket team The England cricket team represents England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to ...
for their 1932–33 Ashes tour of Australia, created to combat the extraordinary
batting Batting may refer to: *Batting (baseball) In baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on t ...
skill of Australia's
Don Bradman Sir Donald George Bradman, Companion of the Order of Australia, AC (27 August 1908 – 25 February 2001), nicknamed "The Don", was an Australian international cricketer, widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman of all time. Bradman's ...
. A bodyline delivery was one in which the
cricket ball A cricket ball is a hard, solid ball A ball is a round object (usually spherical of a sphere A sphere (from Greek language, Greek —, "globe, ball") is a geometrical object in three-dimensional space Three-dimensional space (a ...

cricket ball
was
bowled In cricket Cricket is a bat-and-ball gameBat-and-ball may refer to: *Bat-and-ball games Bat-and-ball games (or safe haven games) are field games played by two opposing teams, in which the action starts when the defending team throws a ba ...
, at pace, at the body of the
batsman In cricket, batting is the act or skill of hitting the cricket ball, ball with a cricket bat, bat to score runs (cricket), runs and prevent the dismissal (cricket), loss of one's wicket. Any player who is currently batting is denoted as a batsm ...
in the expectation that when he defended himself with his
bat Bats are mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meanin ...

bat
a resulting deflection could be caught by one of several fielders standing close by on the
leg side The leg side, or on side, is defined to be a particular half of the field used to play the sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and Sk ...
. Critics of the tactic considered it intimidating and physically threatening, to the point of being unfair in a game that was traditionally supposed to uphold long-held conventions of
sportsmanship Sportsmanship is an aspiration or ethos that a sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and Skill, skills while providing enjoyment t ...
. The England team's use of the tactic was perceived by some, both in Australia and England, as overly aggressive or even unfair, and caused a controversy which rose to such a level that it even threatened diplomatic relations between the two countries before the situation was calmed. Although no serious injuries arose from any short-pitched deliveries while a
leg theory Leg theory is a bowling (cricket), bowling tactic in the sport of cricket. The term ''leg theory'' is somewhat archaic and seldom used any longer, but the basic tactic remains a play in modern cricket. Simply put, leg theory involves concentrating ...
field was actually set, the tactic led to considerable ill feeling between the two teams, particularly when Australian batsmen where struck by the ball, which inflamed spectators. Short-pitched fast bowling in general continues to be permitted in cricket, even when aimed at the batsman, and is considered to be a legimate bowling tactic when used sparingly. However, over time, several of the
Laws of Cricket The ''Laws of Cricket'' is a code which specifies the rules of the game of cricket Cricket is a bat-and-ball gameBat-and-ball may refer to: *Bat-and-ball games Bat-and-ball games (or safe haven games) are field games played by two oppos ...
were changed to render the bodyline tactic less effective.


Definition and origin of the term

Bodyline is a tactic devised for and primarily used in the
Ashes Ashes may refer to: *ash Ash or ashes are the solid remnants of fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction Product (chemistry), product ...

Ashes
series between England and Australia in 1932–33. The tactic involved bowling at the leg stump or just outside it, but pitching the ball short so that, on bouncing, it reared up threatingly at the body of a batsman standing in an orthodox batting position. A ring of fielders ranged on the
leg side The leg side, or on side, is defined to be a particular half of the field used to play the sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and Sk ...
would catch any defensive deflection from the bat. The batsman's options were to evade the ball through ducking or moving aside, allow the ball to strike his body, or attempt to play the ball with his bat. The last course carried additional risks, as defensive shots brought few runs and could carry far enough to be caught by fielders on the leg side, and pull and hook shots could be caught near the
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of the field where two men were usually placed for such a shot. Bodyline bowling is intended to be intimidatory,Douglas, p. 103. and was primarilly designed as an attempt to curb the unusually prolific scoring of
Donald Bradman Sir Donald George Bradman, Companion of the Order of Australia, AC (27 August 1908 – 25 February 2001), nicknamed "The Don", was an Australian international cricketer, widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman of all time. Bradman's ...
, although other Australian batsmen such as
Bill Woodfull William Maldon Woodfull (22 August 1897 – 11 August 1965) was an Australian cricketer of the 1920s and 1930s. He captained both Victorian Bushrangers, Victoria and Australian cricket team, Australia, and was best known for his dignified and ...

Bill Woodfull
,
Bill Ponsford William Harold Ponsford Order of the British Empire, MBE (19 October 1900 – 6 April 1991) was an Australian cricketer. Usually playing as an Batting order (cricket), opening batsman, he formed a successful and long-lived partnership (cri ...

Bill Ponsford
, and
Alan Kippax Alan Falconer Kippax (25 May 1897 – 5 September 1972) was a cricketer for New South Wales cricket team, New South Wales (NSW) and Australian cricket team, Australia. Regarded as one of the great stylists of Australian cricket during the era ...
were also targeted. Several terms were used to describe this style of bowling before the name 'bodyline' was used. Among the first to use it was the writer and former Australian Test cricketer
Jack Worrall John "Jack" Worrall (20 June 1861 – 17 November 1937) was an Australian rules footballer who played for the Fitzroy Football Club in the Victorian Football Association, VFA, and a Test cricket, Test cricketer. He was also a prominent co ...
in the match between the English team and an Australian XI. When 'bodyline' was first used in full, he referred to "half-pitched slingers on the body line" and first used it in print after the first Test. Other writers used a similar phrase around this time, but the first use of 'bodyline' in print seems to have been by the journalist
Hugh Buggy Edward Hugh Buggy (9 June 1896 – 18 June 1974) was a leading journalist well known as an Australian rules football writer covering the Victorian Football League (1897–1989), Victorian Football League (renamed in 1989 Australian Football League ...
in the Melbourne ''Herald'', in his report on the first day's play of the first Test.


Genesis


Leg theory bowling

In the 19th century, most cricketers considered it unsportsmanlike to bowl the ball at the leg stump or for batsmen to hit on the leg side. But by the early years of the 20th century, some bowlers, usually
slow In everyday use and in kinematics, the speed (commonly referred to as ''v'') of an object is the magnitude (mathematics), magnitude of the rate of change of its Position (vector), position with time or the magnitude of the change of its posi ...
or medium-paced, used
leg theory Leg theory is a bowling (cricket), bowling tactic in the sport of cricket. The term ''leg theory'' is somewhat archaic and seldom used any longer, but the basic tactic remains a play in modern cricket. Simply put, leg theory involves concentrating ...
as a tactic; the ball was aimed outside the line of leg stump and the fielders placed on that side of the field, the object being to test the batsman's patience and force a rash stroke. Two English left-arm bowlers,
George Hirst George Herbert Hirst (7 September 1871 – 10 May 1954) was a professional English cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre ...

George Hirst
in 1903–04 and
Frank FosterFrancis or Frank Foster may refer to: Music * Frank Foster (musician) (1928–2011), American jazz saxophonist * Frank Foster (country singer) (born 1982), American country singer-songwriter active since 2011 Politics * Frank Foster (Michigan poli ...
in 1911–12, bowled leg theory to packed leg side fields in Test matches in Australia;Frith, pp. 18–19.
Warwick Armstrong Warwick Windridge Armstrong (22 May 1879 – 13 July 1947) was an Australian cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is ...

Warwick Armstrong
also used it regularly for Australia. In the years immediately before the First World War, several bowlers used leg theory in English
county cricket Inter-county cricket matches are known to have been played since the early 18th century, involving teams that are representative of the historic counties of England The historic counties of England are areas that were established for admin ...
.Frith, pp. 22–23. When cricket resumed after the war, few bowlers maintained the tactic, which was unpopular with spectators owing to its negativity.
Fred Root Charles Frederick (Fred) Root (16 April 1890 – 20 January 1954) was an English cricketer who played for English cricket team, England in 1926 and for Derbyshire County Cricket Club, Derbyshire between 1910 and 1920 and for Worcestershire Count ...

Fred Root
, the Worcestershire bowler, used it regularly and with considerable success in county cricket. Root later defended the use of leg theory—and bodyline—observing that when bowlers bowled outside off stump, the batsmen always had the option to let the ball pass them without playing a shot, so they could scarcely complain. Some fast bowlers experimented with leg theory prior to 1932, sometimes accompanying the tactic with short-pitched bowling. In 1925, Australian Jack Scott first bowled a form of what would later have been called bodyline in a state match for New South Wales; his captain
Herbie Collins Herbert (Herbie) Leslie Collins (21 January 1888 – 28 May 1959) was an Australian cricketer who played 19 Test cricket, Tests between 1921 and 1926. An all-rounder, he captain (cricket), captained the Australia national cricket team, Australi ...

Herbie Collins
disliked it and would not let him use it again. Other Australian captains were less particular, including
Vic Richardson Victor York Richardson (7 September 189430 October 1969) was a leading Australian sportsman of the 1920s and 1930s, captaining the Australia national cricket team, Australia cricket team and the South Australia Australian rules football team, r ...

Vic Richardson
, who asked the South Australian bowler Lance Gun to use it in 1925,Frith, pp. 27–29. and later let Scott use it when he moved to South Australia. Scott repeated the tactics against the MCC in 1928–29.Frith, pp. 28–29. In
1927 Events January * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar The Gregorian calendar is the used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by as a modification of the ...
, in a Test trial match, "Nobby" Clark bowled short to a leg-trap (a cluster of fielders placed close on the leg side). He was representing England in a side captained by
Douglas Jardine Douglas Robert Jardine ( 1900 – 1958) was a cricketer who played 22 Test cricket, Test matches for England, captaining the side in 15 of those matches between 1931 and 1934. A right-handed Batting (cricket), batsman, he is best known for ...

Douglas Jardine
. In 1928–29, Harry Alexander bowled fast leg theory at an England team, and
Harold Larwood Harold Larwood (14 November 1904 – 22 July 1995) was a professional cricketer for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and the England cricket team between 1924 and 1938. A right-arm Fast bowling, fast bowler who combined unusual speed wit ...

Harold Larwood
briefly used a similar tactic on that same tour in two Test matches.
Freddie Calthorpe Frederick Somerset Gough Calthorpe (27 May 1892 – 19 November 1935), styled The Honourable from 1912, was an English first-class cricketer. Born in London, Calthorpe ("pronounced with the first syllable rhyming with 'tall' and not with 'shall ...
, the England captain, criticised
Learie Constantine Learie Nicholas Constantine, Baron Constantine, (21 September 19011 July 1971) was a West Indies, West Indian cricketer, lawyer and politician who served as Trinidad and Tobago's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and became the UK's first ...

Learie Constantine
's use of short-pitched bowling to a leg side field in a Test match in 1930; one such ball struck
Andy Sandham Andrew Sandham (6 July 1890 – 20 April 1982) was an English cricketer, a right-handed batsman (cricket), batsman who played 14 Test cricket, Test matches between 1921 and 1930. Sandham made the first triple century in Test cricket, 325 agains ...
, but Constantine only reverted to more conventional tactics after a complaint from the England team.


Donald Bradman

The
Australian cricket team The Australia men's national cricket team represents Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, th ...
toured England in 1930. Australia won the five-
Test Test(s), testing, or TEST may refer to: * Test (assessment) A test or examination (exam or evaluation) is an educational assessment Educational assessment or educational evaluation is the systematic process of documenting and using em ...
series 2–1, and
Donald Bradman Sir Donald George Bradman, Companion of the Order of Australia, AC (27 August 1908 – 25 February 2001), nicknamed "The Don", was an Australian international cricketer, widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman of all time. Bradman's ...
scored 974
runs Run(s) or RUN may refer to: Places * Run (island), one of the Banda Islands in Indonesia * Run (stream), a stream in the Dutch province of North Brabant People * Run (rapper), Joseph Simmons, now known as "Reverend Run", from the hip-hop group R ...
at a
batting average Batting average is a statistic A statistic (singular) or sample statistic is any quantity computed from values in a sample which is considered for a statistical purpose. Statistical purposes include estimating a population Population ty ...
of 139.14, an aggregate record that still stands to this day.Perry, p. 133. By the time of the next Ashes series of 1932–33, Bradman's average hovered around 100, approximately twice that of all other world-class batsmen.Cashman, pp. 32–35.Piesse, p. 130. The English cricket authorities felt that specific tactics would be required to curtail Bradman from being even more successful on his own Australian pitches; some believed that Bradman was at his most vulnerable against
leg-spin Leg spin is a type of spin bowling in cricket. A leg spinner bowls right-arm with a wrist spin action. The leg spinner's normal Delivery (cricket), delivery causes the ball to spin from right to left (from the bowler's perspective) when the ba ...

leg-spin
bowling as
Walter Robins Robert Walter Vivian Robins (3 June 1906 – 12 December 1968) was an English cricketer and cricket administrator, who played for Cambridge University Cricket Club, Cambridge University, Middlesex County Cricket Club, Middlesex, and England cric ...
and
Ian Peebles Ian Alexander Ross Peebles (20 January 190828 February 1980) was a cricketer Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cric ...
had supposedly caused him problems; consequently two leg-spinners were included in the English touring party of 1932–33. Gradually, the idea developed that Bradman was possibly vulnerable to pace bowling. In the final Test of the 1930 Ashes series, while he was batting, the pitch became briefly difficult following rain. Bradman was observed to be uncomfortable facing deliveries which bounced higher than usual at a faster pace, being seen to consistently step back out of the line of the ball. Former England player and
Surrey Surrey () is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and R ...
captain
Percy Fender Percy George Herbert Fender (22 August 1892 – 15 June 1985) was an English cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a ...

Percy Fender
was one who noticed this, and the incident was much discussed by cricketers. Given that Bradman scored 232, it was not initially thought that a way to curb his prodigious scoring had been found.Douglas, p. 111. When Douglas Jardine later saw film footage of the Oval incident and noticed Bradman's discomfort, according to his daughter he shouted, "I've got it! He's yellow!" The theory of Bradman's vulnerability developed further when Fender received correspondence from Australia in 1932, describing how Australian batsmen were increasingly moving across the stumps towards the off side to play the ball on the on side. Fender showed these letters to his Surrey team-mate Jardine when it became clear that Jardine was to captain the English team in Australia during the 1932–33 tour, and he also discussed Bradman's discomfort at the Oval. It was also known in England that Bradman was dismissed for a four-ball
duck Duck is the common name for numerous species of waterfowl Anseriformes is an order (biology), order of birds that comprise about 180 living species in three families: Anhimidae (the 3 screamers), Anseranatidae (the magpie goose), and Anati ...
by fast bowler Eddie Gilbert, and had looked very uncomfortable. Bradman had also appeared uncomfortable against the pace of in his innings of 299 not out at the
Adelaide Oval Adelaide Oval is a sports ground in Adelaide Adelaide ( ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a Department (country subdivision), department, country, Constituent state, state, ...
in South Africa's tour of Australia earlier in 1932, when the desperate bowler decided to bowl short to him, and fellow South African
Herbie Taylor Herbert Wilfred Taylor (5 May 1889 – 8 February 1973) was a South African cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is ...
, according to
Jack Fingleton John Henry Webb Fingleton (28 April 190822 November 1981) was an Australian cricketer, journalist and commentator. The son of Australian politician James Fingleton, he was known for his dour defensive approach as a batsman, scoring five Test cr ...

Jack Fingleton
, may have mentioned this to English cricketers in 1932. Fender felt Bradman might be vulnerable to fast, short-pitched deliveries on the line of leg stump.Perry, p. 135.Pollard, p. 244. Jardine felt that Bradman was nervous about standing his ground against intimidatory bowling, citing instances in 1930 when he shuffled about, contrary to orthodox batting technique.Haigh and Frith, p. 70.


Douglas Jardine

Jardine's first experience against Australia came when he scored an unbeaten 96 to secure a draw against the 1921 Australian touring side for
Oxford University Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London, southeast of Birmingham, and northeast of Bristol. The city is home to the Unive ...
. The tourists were criticised in the press for not allowing Jardine to reach his hundred,Fingleton (1981), pp. 81–82. but had tried to help him with some easy bowling. There has been speculation that this incident helped develop Jardine's antipathy towards Australians, although Jardine's biographer Christopher Douglas denies this. Jardine's attitude towards Australia hardened after he toured the country in 1928–29. When he scored three consecutive hundreds in the early games, he was frequently jeered by the crowd for slow play; the Australian spectators took an increasing dislike to him, mainly for his superior attitude and bearing, his awkward fielding, and particularly his choice of headwear—a Harlequin cap that was given to successful Oxford cricketers. Although Jardine may simply have worn the cap out of superstition, it conveyed a negative impression to the spectators; his general demeanour drew one comment of "Where's the butler to carry the bat for you?" By this stage Jardine had developed an intense dislike for Australian crowds. During his third century at the start of the tour, during a period of abuse from the spectators, he observed to
Hunter Hendry Hunter Scott Thomas Laurie Hendry (24 May 1895 – 16 December 1988) was a cricketer who played for New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State ...
that "All Australians are uneducated, and an unruly mob".Frith, p. 71. After the innings, when teammate
Patsy Hendren Elias Henry Hendren (5 February 1889 – 4 October 1962), known as Patsy Hendren, was an English first-class cricket First-class cricket is an official classification of the highest-standard international or domestic matches in the sport of c ...
remarked that the Australian crowds did not like Jardine, he replied "It's fucking mutual". During the tour, Jardine fielded next to the crowd on the boundary. There, he was roundly abused and mocked for his awkward fielding, particularly when chasing the ball. On one occasion, he spat towards the crowd while fielding on the boundary as he changed position for the final time. Jardine was appointed captain of England for the 1931 season, replacing
Percy Chapman Arthur Percy Frank Chapman (3 September 1900 – 16 September 1961) was an English cricketer Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of w ...

Percy Chapman
who had led the team in 1930. He defeated
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...
in his first series, but opinion was divided as to how effective he had been. The following season, he led England again and was appointed to lead the team to tour Australia for the 1932–33 Ashes series. A meeting was arranged between Jardine,
Nottinghamshire Nottinghamshire (; abbreviated Notts.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chamb ...
captain Arthur Carr and his two
fast bowler Pace bowling (also referred to as fast bowling) is one of two main approaches to bowling Bowling is a Throwing sports#Target sports, target sport and recreational activity in which a player rolls a bowling ball, ball toward Bowling pin, ...

fast bowler
s
Harold Larwood Harold Larwood (14 November 1904 – 22 July 1995) was a professional cricketer for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and the England cricket team between 1924 and 1938. A right-arm Fast bowling, fast bowler who combined unusual speed wit ...

Harold Larwood
and
Bill Voce Bill Voce (8 August 1909 – 6 June 1984) was an English cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with ...
at London's Piccadilly Hotel to discuss a plan to combat Bradman.Perry, p. 134. Jardine asked Larwood and Voce if they could bowl on leg stump and make the ball rise into the body of the batsman. The bowlers agreed they could, and that it might prove effective.Pollard, p. 242. Jardine also visited Frank Foster to discuss his field-placing in Australia in 1911–12. Larwood and Voce practised the plan over the remainder of the 1932 season with varying but increasing success and several injuries to batsmen.
Ken Farnes Kenneth Farnes (8 July 1911 – 20 October 1941) was an English cricketer. He played in fifteen Test cricket, Tests from 1934 to 1939. Early life Farnes was born in Leytonstone, Essex, and was educated at the Royal Liberty School in Gidea Pa ...
experimented with short-pitched, leg-theory bowling but was not selected for the tour.
Bill Bowes William Eric Bowes (25 July 1908 – 4 September 1987) was an English professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards ...
also used short-pitched bowling, notably against
Jack Hobbs Sir John Berry Hobbs (16 December 1882– 21 December 1963), always known as Jack Hobbs, was an English Professional sports, professional cricketer who played for Surrey County Cricket Club, Surrey from 1905 to 1934 and for England national cri ...

Jack Hobbs
.


Ashes series of 1932–33


Early development on tour

The England team which toured Australia in 1932–33 contained four fast bowlers and a few medium pacers; such a heavy concentration on pace was unusual at the time, and drew comment from the Australian press and players, including Bradman. On the journey, Jardine instructed his team on how to approach the tour and discussed tactics with several players, including Larwood; at this stage, he seems to have settled on
leg theory Leg theory is a bowling (cricket), bowling tactic in the sport of cricket. The term ''leg theory'' is somewhat archaic and seldom used any longer, but the basic tactic remains a play in modern cricket. Simply put, leg theory involves concentrating ...
, if not full bodyline, as his main tactic. Some players later reported that he told them to hate the Australians in order to defeat them, while instructing them to refer to Bradman as "the little bastard."Frith, pp. 61, 66. Upon arrival, Jardine quickly alienated the press and crowds through his manner and approach.Douglas, p. 126. In the early matches, although there were instances of the English bowlers pitching the ball short and causing problems with their pace, full bodyline tactics were not used. There had been little unusual about the English bowling except the number of fast bowlers. Larwood and Voce were given a light workload in the early matches by Jardine. The English tactics changed in a game against an Australian XI team at Melbourne in mid-November, when full bodyline tactics were deployed for the first time.Harte, p. 344.Pollard, p. 249. Jardine had left himself out of the English side, which was led instead by
Bob Wyatt Robert Elliott Storey Wyatt (2 May 1901 – 20 April 1995) was an English cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a c ...
who later wrote that the team experimented with a diluted form of bodyline bowling. He reported to Jardine that Bradman, who was playing for the opposition, seemed uncomfortable against the bowling tactics of Larwood, Voce and Bowes. The crowd, press and Australian players were shocked by what they experienced and believed that the bowlers were targeting the batsmen's heads. Bradman adopted unorthodox tactics—ducking, weaving and moving around the
crease Crease may refer to: * A line (geometry) or mark made by folding or doubling any pliable substance * Crease (band), American hard rock band that formed in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1994 * Crease pattern, origami diagram type that consists of all o ...
—which did not meet with universal approval from Australians and he scored just 36 and 13 in the match. The tactic continued to be used in the next game by Voce (Larwood and Bowes did not play in this game), against
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
, for whom
Jack Fingleton John Henry Webb Fingleton (28 April 190822 November 1981) was an Australian cricketer, journalist and commentator. The son of Australian politician James Fingleton, he was known for his dour defensive approach as a batsman, scoring five Test cr ...

Jack Fingleton
made a century and received several blows in the process. Bradman again failed twice, and had scored just 103 runs in six innings against the touring team; many Australian fans were now worried by Bradman's form. Meanwhile, Jardine wrote to tell Fender that his information about the Australian batting technique was correct and that it meant he was having to move more and more fielders onto the leg side: "if this goes on I shall have to move the whole bloody lot to the leg side."Frith, p. 105. The Australian press were shocked and criticised the hostility of Larwood in particular. Some former Australian players joined the criticism, saying the tactics were ethically wrong. But at this stage, not everyone was opposed, and the Australian Board of Control believed the English team had bowled fairly. On the other hand, Jardine increasingly came into disagreement with tour manager Warner over bodyline as the tour progressed. Warner hated bodyline but would not speak out against it. He was accused of hypocrisy for not taking a stand on either side, particularly after expressing sentiments at the start of the tour that cricket "has become a synonym for all that is true and honest. To say 'that is not cricket' implies something underhand, something not in keeping with the best ideals ... all who love it as players, as officials or spectators must be careful lest anything they do should do it harm."


First two Test matches

Bradman missed the first Test at Sydney, worn out by constant cricket and the ongoing argument with the Board of Control. Jardine later wrote that the real reason was that the batsman had suffered a
nervous breakdown A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such features may be persistent, relapsing In internal medici ...
.Haigh and Frith, p. 71. The English bowlers used bodyline intermittently in the first match, to the crowd's vocal displeasure, and the Australians lost the game by ten wickets. Larwood was particularly successful, returning match figures of ten wickets for 124 runs.Frith, p. 137. One of the English bowlers,
Gubby Allen Sir George Oswald Browning "Gubby" Allen Order of the British Empire, CBE (31 July 190229 November 1989) was a cricketer who captain (cricket), captained England cricket team, England in eleven Test cricket, Test matches. In First-class cricke ...
, refused to bowl with fielders on the leg side, clashing with Jardine over these tactics.Frith, p. 116. The only Australian batsman to make an impact was
Stan McCabe Stanley Joseph McCabe (16 July 1910 – 25 August 1968) was an Australian cricketer who played 39 Test cricket, Test matches for Australia from 1930 to 1938. A short, stocky right-hander, McCabe was described by ''Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, ...

Stan McCabe
, who hooked and pulled everything aimed at his upper body,Colman, p. 172. to score 187 not out in four hours from 233 deliveries. Behind the scenes, administrators began to express concerns to each other. Yet the English tactics still did not earn universal disapproval; former Australian captain
Monty Noble Montague Alfred Noble (28 January 1873 – 22 June 1940) was an Australian cricketer who played for New South Wales cricket team, New South Wales and Australia national cricket team, Australia. A right-hand batsman, right-handed bowler who coul ...

Monty Noble
praised the English bowling. Meanwhile, Woodfull was being encouraged to retaliate to the short-pitched English attack, not least by members of his own side such as
Vic Richardson Victor York Richardson (7 September 189430 October 1969) was a leading Australian sportsman of the 1920s and 1930s, captaining the Australia national cricket team, Australia cricket team and the South Australia Australian rules football team, r ...

Vic Richardson
, or to include pace bowlers such as Eddie Gilbert or
Laurie Nash Laurence John Nash (2 May 1910 – 24 July 1986) was a Test cricketer and Australian rules footballer. An inductee into the Australian Football Hall of Fame, Nash was a member of Sydney Swans, South Melbourne's 1933 VFL Grand Final, 1933 premier ...
to match the aggression of the opposition.Whitington and Hele, p. 132. But Woodfull refused to consider doing so. He had to wait until minutes before the game before he was confirmed as captain by the selectors.Harte, p. 346. For the second Test, Bradman returned to the team after his newspaper employers released him from his contract. England continued to use bodyline and Bradman was dismissed by his first ball in the first innings. In the second innings, against the full bodyline attack, he scored an unbeaten century which helped Australia to win the match and level the series at one match each. Critics began to believe bodyline was not quite the threat that had been perceived and Bradman's reputation, which had suffered slightly with his earlier failures, was restored. However, the pitch was slightly slower than others in the series, and Larwood was suffering from problems with his boots which reduced his effectiveness.


Third Test match

The controversy reached its peak during the Third Test at Adelaide. On the second day, a Saturday, before a crowd of 50,962 spectators,Haigh and Frith, p. 73. Australia bowled out England who had batted through the first day. In the third over of the Australian innings, Larwood bowled to Woodfull. The fifth ball narrowly missed Woodfull's head and the final ball, delivered short on the line of middle stump, struck Woodfull over the heart. The batsman dropped his bat and staggered away holding his chest, bent over in pain. The England players surrounded Woodfull to offer sympathy but the crowd began to protest noisily. Jardine called to Larwood: "Well bowled, Harold!" Although the comment was aimed at unnerving Bradman, who was also batting at the time, Woodfull was appalled. Play resumed after a brief delay, once it was certain the Australian captain was fit to carry on and, since Larwood's over had ended, Woodfull did not have to face the bowling of Allen in the next over. However, when Larwood was ready to bowl at Woodfull again, play was halted once more when the fielders were moved into bodyline positions, causing the crowd to protest and call abuse at the England team. Subsequently, Jardine claimed that Larwood requested a field change, Larwood said that Jardine had done so. Many commentators condemned the alteration of the field as unsporting, and the angry spectators became extremely volatile.Frith, p. 181. Jardine, although writing that Woodfull could have retired hurt if he was unfit, later expressed his regret at making the field change at that moment.Frith, p. 180. The fury of the crowd was such that a riot might have occurred had another incident taken place and several writers suggested that the anger of the spectators was the culmination of feelings built up over the two months that bodyline had developed. During the over, another rising Larwood delivery knocked the bat out of Woodfull's hands. He batted for 89 minutes, being hit a few more times before Allen bowled him for 22. Later in the day, Pelham Warner, one of the England managers, visited the Australian dressing room. He expressed sympathy to Woodfull but was surprised by the Australian's response. According to Warner, Woodfull replied, "I don't want to see you, Mr Warner. There are two teams out there. One is trying to play cricket and the other is not."Frith, p. 185. Fingleton wrote that Woodfull had added, "This game is too good to be spoilt. It is time some people got out of it."Fingleton (1947), p. 18. Woodfull was usually dignified and quietly spoken, making his reaction surprising to Warner and others present.Fingleton (1947), p. 17. Warner was so shaken that he was found in tears later that day in his hotel room. There was no play on the following day, Sunday being a rest day, but on Monday morning, the exchange between Warner and Woodfull was reported in several Australian newspapers. The players and officials were horrified that a sensitive private exchange had been reported to the press. News leak, Leaks to the press were practically unknown in 1933. David Frith notes that discretion and respect were highly prized and such a leak was "regarded as a moral offence of the first order."Frith, p. 187. Woodfull made it clear that he severely disapproved of the leak, and later wrote that he "always expected cricketers to do the right thing by their team-mates."Frith, p. 188. As the only full-time journalist in the Australian team, suspicion immediately fell on Fingleton, although as soon as the story was published, he told Woodfull he was not responsible. Warner offered Larwood a reward of one pound if he could dismiss Fingleton in the second innings; Larwood obliged by bowling him for a
duck Duck is the common name for numerous species of waterfowl Anseriformes is an order (biology), order of birds that comprise about 180 living species in three families: Anhimidae (the 3 screamers), Anseranatidae (the magpie goose), and Anati ...
.Hamilton, p. 157. Fingleton later claimed that Sydney Sun reporter Claude Corbett had received the information from Bradman;Fingleton (1981), p. 108. for the rest of their lives, Fingleton and Bradman made claim and counter-claim that the other man was responsible for the leak. The following day, as Australia faced a large deficit on the first innings, Bert Oldfield played a long innings in support of
Bill Ponsford William Harold Ponsford Order of the British Empire, MBE (19 October 1900 – 6 April 1991) was an Australian cricketer. Usually playing as an Batting order (cricket), opening batsman, he formed a successful and long-lived partnership (cri ...

Bill Ponsford
, who scored 85. In the course of the innings, the English bowlers used bodyline against him, and he faced several short-pitched deliveries but took several Boundary (cricket), fours from Larwood to move to 41. Having just conceded a four, Larwood bowled fractionally shorter and slightly slower. Oldfield attempted to hook but lost sight of the ball and edged it onto his temple; the ball fractured his skull. Oldfield staggered away and fell to his knees and play stopped as Woodfull came onto the pitch and the angry crowd jeered and shouted, once more reaching the point where a riot seemed likely. Several English players thought about arming themselves with stumps should the crowd come onto the field.Frith, pp. 196–98. The ball which injured Oldfield was bowled to a conventional, non-bodyline field; Larwood immediately apologised but Oldfield said that it was his own fault before he was helped back to the dressing room and play continued. Jardine later secretly sent a telegram of sympathy to Oldfield's wife and arranged for presents to be given to his young daughters.Frith, p. 201.


The cable exchange

At the end of the fourth day's play of the third Test match, the Australian Board of Control sent a Electrical telegraph, cable to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), cricket's ruling body and the club that selected the England team, in London: Not all Australians, including the press and players, believed that the cable should have been sent, particularly immediately following a heavy defeat. The suggestion of unsportsmanlike behaviour was deeply resented by the MCC, and was one of the worst accusations that could have been levelled at the team at the time. Additionally, members of the MCC believed that the Australians had over-reacted to the English bowling. The MCC took some time to draft a reply: At this point, the remainder of the series was under threat.Pollard, p. 259. Jardine was shaken by the events and by the hostile reactions to his team. Stories appeared in the press, possibly leaked by the disenchanted Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, Nawab of Pataudi, about fights and arguments between the England players. Jardine offered to stop using bodyline if the team did not support him, but after a private meeting (not attended by Jardine or either of the team managers) the players released a statement fully supporting the captain and his tactics.Frith, pp. 214–15.Douglas, p. 146. Even so, Jardine would not have played in the fourth Test without the withdrawal of the unsportsmanlike accusation. The Australian Board met to draft a reply cable, which was sent on 30 January, indicating that they wished the series to continue and offering to postpone consideration of the fairness of bodyline bowling until after the series. The MCC's reply, on 2 February, suggested that continuing the series would be impossible unless the accusation of unsporting behaviour was withdrawn. The situation escalated into a diplomatic incident. Figures high up in both the British and Australian government saw bodyline as potentially fracturing an international relationship that needed to remain strong. The Governors of South Australia, Governor of South Australia, Alexander Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie, Alexander Hore-Ruthven, who was in England at the time, expressed his concern to British Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs James Henry Thomas that this would cause a significant impact on trade between the nations. The standoff was settled when Prime Minister of Australia, the Australian prime minister, Joseph Lyons, met with members of the Australian Board and outlined to them the severe economic hardships that could be caused in Australia if the British public boycotted Australian trade. Following considerable discussion and debate in the English and Australian press, the Australian Board sent a cable to the MCC which, while maintaining its opposition to bodyline bowling, stated "We do not regard the sportsmanship of your team as being in question".Pollard, pp. 260–261. Even so, correspondence between the Australian Board and the MCC continued for almost a year.


The end of the series

Voce missed the fourth Test of the series, being replaced by a leg spinner, Tommy Mitchell. Larwood continued to use bodyline, but he was the only bowler in the team using the tactic; even so, he used it less frequently than usual and seemed less effective in high temperatures and humidity. England won the game by eight wickets, thanks in part to an innings of 83 by Eddie Paynter who had been admitted to hospital with tonsillitis but left in order to bat when England were struggling in their innings. Voce returned for the final Test, but neither he nor Allen were fully fit, and despite the use of bodyline tactics, Australia scored 435 at a rapid pace, aided by several dropped catches. Australia included a fast bowler for this final game, Harry Alexander who bowled some short deliveries but was not allowed to use many fielders on the leg side by his captain, Woodfull. England built a lead of 19 but their tactics in Australia's second innings were disrupted when Larwood left the field with an injured foot; Hedley Verity, a spinner, claimed five wickets to bowl Australia out; England won by eight wickets and won the series by four Tests to one.


In England

Bodyline continued to be bowled occasionally in the 1933 English season—most notably by
Nottinghamshire Nottinghamshire (; abbreviated Notts.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chamb ...
, who had Carr, Voce and Larwood in their team.Perry, p. 141. This gave the English crowds their first chance to see what all the fuss was about.
Ken Farnes Kenneth Farnes (8 July 1911 – 20 October 1941) was an English cricketer. He played in fifteen Test cricket, Tests from 1934 to 1939. Early life Farnes was born in Leytonstone, Essex, and was educated at the Royal Liberty School in Gidea Pa ...
, the Cambridge University Cricket Club, Cambridge University fast bowler, also bowled it in the The University Match (cricket), University Match, hitting a few Oxford University Cricket Club, Oxford batsmen. Jardine himself had to face bodyline bowling in a Test match. The West Indian cricket team toured England in 1933, and, in the second Test at Old Trafford (cricket), Old Trafford, Jackie Grant, their captain, decided to try bodyline. He had a couple of fast bowlers, Manny Martindale and
Learie Constantine Learie Nicholas Constantine, Baron Constantine, (21 September 19011 July 1971) was a West Indies, West Indian cricketer, lawyer and politician who served as Trinidad and Tobago's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and became the UK's first ...

Learie Constantine
. Facing bodyline tactics for the first time, England first suffered, falling to 134 for 4, with Wally Hammond being hit on the chin, though he recovered to continue his innings. Then Jardine himself faced Martindale and Constantine. Jardine never flinched. With Les Ames finding himself in difficulties, Jardine said, "You get yourself down this end, Les. I'll take care of this bloody nonsense."Douglas, p.166. He played right back to the bouncers, standing on tiptoe, and played them with a dead bat, sometimes playing the ball one handed for more control. While the Old Trafford pitch was not as suited to bodyline as the hard Australian wickets, Martindale did take 5 for 73, but Constantine only took 1 for 55. Jardine himself made 127, his only Test century. In the West Indian second innings, Clark bowled bodyline back to the West Indians, taking 2 for 64. The match in the end was drawn but played a large part in turning English opinion against bodyline. ''The Times'' used the word bodyline, without using inverted commas or using the qualification ''so-called'', for the first time.Douglas, p.168. ''Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, Wisden'' also said that "most of those watching it for the first time must have come to the conclusion that, while strictly within the law, it was not nice." In 1934,
Bill Woodfull William Maldon Woodfull (22 August 1897 – 11 August 1965) was an Australian cricketer of the 1920s and 1930s. He captained both Victorian Bushrangers, Victoria and Australian cricket team, Australia, and was best known for his dignified and ...

Bill Woodfull
led Australia back to England on a tour that had been under a cloud after the tempestuous cricket diplomacy of the previous bodyline series. Jardine had retired from International cricket in early 1934 after captaining a fraught tour of India and under England's new captain,
Bob Wyatt Robert Elliott Storey Wyatt (2 May 1901 – 20 April 1995) was an English cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a c ...
, agreements were put in place so that bodyline would not be used.Harte, p. 354.Robinson, p. 164. However, there were occasions when the Australians felt that their hosts had crossed the mark with tactics resembling bodyline.Haigh and Frith, p. 84. In a match between the Australians and Nottinghamshire, Voce, one of the bodyline practitioners of 1932–33, employed the strategy with the wicket-keeper standing to the leg side and took 8/66. In the second innings, Voce repeated the tactic late in the day, in fading light against Woodfull and Bill Brown (cricketer), Bill Brown. Of his 12 balls, 11 were no lower than head height. Woodfull told the Nottinghamshire administrators that, if Voce's leg-side bowling was repeated, his men would leave the field and return to London. He further said that Australia would not return to the country in the future. The following day, Voce was absent, ostensibly due to a leg injury.Haigh and Frith, p. 85.Perry, pp. 147–148. Already angered by the absence of Larwood, the Nottinghamshire faithful heckled the Australians all day. Australia had previously and privately complained that some pacemen had strayed past the agreement in the Tests.


Changes to the laws of cricket

As a direct consequence of the 1932–33 tour, the MCC introduced a new rule to the laws of cricket for the 1935 English cricket season.Frith, p. 408. Originally, the MCC hoped that captains would ensure that the game was played in the correct spirit, and passed a resolution that bodyline bowling would breach this spirit. When this proved to be insufficient, the MCC passed a law that "direct attack" bowling was unfair and became the responsibility of the umpires to identify and stop. In 1957, the laws were altered to prevent more than two fielders standing behind square on the leg side; the intention was to prevent negative bowling tactics whereby off spinners and slow inswing bowlers aimed at the leg stump of batsmen with fielders concentrated on the leg side. However, an indirect effect was to make bodyline fields impossible to implement. Later law changes, under the heading of "Intimidatory Short Pitched Bowling", also restricted the number of "bouncer (cricket), bouncers" which might be bowled in an over (cricket), over. Nevertheless, the tactic of intimidating the batsman is still used to an extent that would have been shocking in 1933, although it is less dangerous now because today's players wear helmets and generally far more protective gear. The West Indies cricket team, West Indies teams of the 1980s, who regularly fielded a bowling attack comprising some of the best fast bowlers in cricket history, were perhaps the most feared exponents.


Reaction

The English players and management were consistent in referring to their tactic as ''fast leg theory'' considering it to be a variant of the established and unobjectionable
leg theory Leg theory is a bowling (cricket), bowling tactic in the sport of cricket. The term ''leg theory'' is somewhat archaic and seldom used any longer, but the basic tactic remains a play in modern cricket. Simply put, leg theory involves concentrating ...
tactic. The inflammatory term "bodyline" was coined and perpetuated by the Australian press (#Origin of the term, see below). English writers used the term ''fast leg theory''. The terminology reflected differences in understanding, as neither the English public nor the Board of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)—the governing body of English cricket—could understand why the Australians were complaining about what they perceived as a commonly used tactic. Some concluded that the Australian cricket authorities and public were sore losers.Pollard, p. 258. Of the four fast bowlers in the tour party,
Gubby Allen Sir George Oswald Browning "Gubby" Allen Order of the British Empire, CBE (31 July 190229 November 1989) was a cricketer who captain (cricket), captained England cricket team, England in eleven Test cricket, Test matches. In First-class cricke ...
was a voice of dissent in the English camp, refusing to bowl short on the leg side, and writing several letters home to England critical of Jardine, although he did not express this in public in Australia. A number of other players, while maintaining a united front in public, also deplored bodyline in private. The Amateur status in first-class cricket, amateurs
Bob Wyatt Robert Elliott Storey Wyatt (2 May 1901 – 20 April 1995) was an English cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a c ...
(the vice-captain), Freddie Brown (cricketer), Freddie Brown and the Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, Nawab of Pataudi opposed it, as did Wally Hammond and Les Ames among the professionals. During the season, Woodfull's physical courage, stoic and dignified leadership won him many admirers. He flatly refused to employ retaliatory tactics and did not publicly complain even though he and his men were repeatedly hit.Cashman, pp. 322–323. Jardine however insisted his tactic was not designed to cause injury and that he was leading his team in a sportsmanlike and gentlemanly manner, arguing that it was up to the Australian batsmen to play their way out of trouble. It was subsequently revealed that several of the players had private reservations, but they did not express them publicly at the time.


Legacy

Following the 1932–33 series, several authors, including many of the players involved, released books expressing various points of view about bodyline. Many argued that it was a scourge on cricket and must be stamped out, while some did not see what all the fuss was about. The series has been described as the most controversial period in Australian cricket history,Colman, p. 171. and voted the most important Australian moment by a panel of Australian cricket identities. The MCC asked
Harold Larwood Harold Larwood (14 November 1904 – 22 July 1995) was a professional cricketer for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and the England cricket team between 1924 and 1938. A right-arm Fast bowling, fast bowler who combined unusual speed wit ...

Harold Larwood
to sign an apology to them for his bowling in Australia, making his selection for England again conditional upon it. Larwood was furious at the notion, pointing out that he had been following orders from his captain, and that was where any blame should lie. Larwood refused, never played for England again, and became vilified in his own country. Douglas Jardine always defended his tactics and in the book he wrote about the tour, ''In Quest of the Ashes'', described allegations that the England bowlers directed their attack with the intention of causing physical harm as stupid and patently untruthful. The immediate effect of the law change which banned bodyline in 1935 was to make commentators and spectators sensitive to the use of short-pitched bowling; bouncers became exceedingly rare and bowlers who delivered them were practically ostracised. This attitude ended after the Second World War, and among the first teams to make extensive use of short-pitched bowling was the Australian team captained by Bradman between 1946 and 1948. Other teams soon followed. Outside the sport, there were significant consequences for Anglo-Australian relations, which remained strained until the outbreak of World War II made cooperation paramount. Business between the two countries was adversely affected as citizens of each country avoided goods manufactured in the other. Australian commerce also suffered in British colonies in Asia: the ''North China Daily News'' published a pro-bodyline editorial, denouncing Australians as sore losers. An Australian journalist reported that several business deals in Hong Kong and Shanghai were lost by Australians because of local reactions. English immigrants in Australia found themselves shunned and persecuted by locals, and Australian visitors to England were treated similarly. In 1934–35 a statue of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prince Albert in Sydney was vandalised, with an ear being knocked off and the word "BODYLINE" painted on it. Both before and after World War II, numerous satirical cartoons and comedy skits were written, mostly in Australia, based on events of the bodyline tour. Generally, they poked fun at the English. In 1984, Australia's Network Ten produced a television mini-series titled ''Bodyline (miniseries), Bodyline'', dramatising the events of the 1932–33 English tour of Australia. It starred Gary Sweet as Don Bradman, Hugo Weaving as Douglas Jardine, Jim Holt (actor), Jim Holt as Harold Larwood, Rhys McConnochie as Pelham Warner, and Frank Thring as Jardine's mentor George Harris, 4th Baron Harris, Lord Harris. The series took some liberties with historical accuracy for the sake of drama, including a depiction of angry Australian fans burning a Flag of the United Kingdom, British flag at the Sydney Cricket Ground, an event which was never documented.Frith, p. 386. Larwood, having emigrated to Australia in 1950, was largely welcomed with open arms, although received several threatening and obscene phone calls after the series aired.Frith, p. 387. The series was widely and strongly attacked by the surviving players for its inaccuracy and sensationalism. To this day, the bodyline tour remains one of the most significant events in the history of cricket, and strong in the consciousness of many cricket followers. In a poll of cricket journalists, commentators, and players in 2004, the bodyline tour was ranked the most important event in cricket history.


Notes and references


Notes


References


References

* * * * * * * * * * * * * (Book Club edition. First published London, 1975. Allen & Unwin. ) * * * * * * * * * ''Bodyline'
IMDB entry.
Retrieved 30 November 2006. *


External links


Footage of the 1933 Ashes test where bodyline bowling is used on Don Bradman

The Bodyline Series
Original reports from The Times
Bodyline Series – State Library of NSW
{{International cricket tours of Australia 1932 in Australian cricket 1932 in English cricket 1933 in Australian cricket 1933 in English cricket Bowling (cricket) Cricket captaincy and tactics Cricket controversies Don Bradman Banned sports tactics