Wednesday, September 14, 2005
I stumbled upon the famous television series back when I was a kid - Bodyline : It's just not cricket. Yup, the serial about the infamous 1932/33 Bodyline series between England and Australia. The story of 3 individuals: The greatest batsman of all time - Don Bradman, the fastest bowler in the world - Harold Larwood and most importantly about the most hated man in cricket, the infamous English captain Douglas Jardine.
Guess who plays Jardine? Hugo Weaving. Yup Agent Smith from the Matrix trilogy (if you ask me, the real show stealer of the movie. He also played Elrond, the elf king in LOTR trilogy).
For the uninitiated, bodyline was a tactic devised by Jardine where the bowler bowled short and on the batsman's body. The fielders were then concentrated close to the batsman on the leg-side. With a really quick bowler like Larwood, it is virtually impossible to hit the ball on the off-side. Many of the batsmen ended up getting injured, being hit on the body. Most of the Aussie batsmen had no answer to this tactic. Even the great Bradman had a much lower batting average compared to his lofty standards (56.57 compared to his overall average of 99.94). Back in those days this aggressive tactic was "just not cricket".
The TV series is not technically sound (The wicketkeeper is shown standing up to Larwood, the pace bowlers bowl slow, flighted deliveries and a lot of similar bloopers) but still makes for a great watch, just to know the way the game was played back then.
More info on bodyline here.