Thursday, January 13, 2011

A great, in the shadow of the greatest.

The back story behind this article is a conversation I had with my Captain on a Thursday night regarding people we had seen while attending Test Matches at Lords. Of course this is the magic of Lords seeing all the greats come out to enjoy a day on the lawn. And us, the well travelled spectator enjoying the hunt for a glimpse of those we admire, and for the brave at heart maybe asking for a signature.

Our conversation made its way to Arthur Morris, New South Welshman and opening batsman with the Invincible Australians. Known well for being Bradman’s partner in crime during the 1948 tour of England someone we both felt many people had forgotten. It wasn’t till this Ashes series that my phone blinked with a message of discovery from my Captain, for he had come across an interview from the evening’s session of TMS on his podcast with Arthur Morris. Now I must admit the man himself is only words in books to me, I have never heard him speak, and to be frank wondered if he was still alive.

Powering up my laptop, at an hour my wife was more used to me settling down, I searched out and sat back on the couch to listen to the tales told by this great man. one that lived in the shadows of those around him. We have to remember that the Invincible side of 1948 were a side of large personalities in Bradman and Miller, who shine bright in the spotlights of societies graces, Arthur was certainly not forgotten to the keen eye and was described by cricket writer Gideon Haigh as “The acme of elegance and the epitome of sportsmanship”

The war tragically robbed Arthur Morris of some prime years in his cricketing life, but from listening to him speak you know he was grateful just have helped his fellow man. As an 18 year old he holds the feat of being the first and as far as records go the only 18 year old to score a hundred in each innings of his first-class debut in 1940. From this sort of beginning a baggy green was always going to fit the head of this run machine. Some of the greatest moments in Bradman’s history have been shared with Morris, even the 1948 side for which was known as Bradman’s Invincible’s, its leading runs scorer was Arthur Morris, in fact only 3 players have a higher average in an Ashes series.

Arthur Morris’s average of 87 during the 1948 series stands out as amazing considering ,Bradman average 72.57. It was Morris that teamed up with Bradman during the famous chase of 404 at Headingly, as the two paired together with Morris making 182, while Bradman was not out on 173. And it was Morris in his famous account of the day Bradman finished with “that” duck, as it was he that stood at the other end watched his pal leave the Oval for the last time, Morris went on to score 196.

As you listen to Morris speak of his life’s shadow in Bradman he bears no grudge, and celebrates the magic that was The Don in everything that he says. A man that never liked the limelight, preferring players who can play off the back foot. He still doesn’t understand the yelling and arm waving after wickets, and regards Bedser the greatest bowler he ever faced. If anything listening to Arthur speak on this podcast awoke a feeling of me that not all we do is necessary when playing this great summer game, and the joys of a well played shot is as pleasurable as the friends for which you enjoy it with.

I’m not going to give you the link to the podcast, all ask is that you search it out for yourself and revel in a simple kind of cricket, I encourage any young cricketer to listen to the interview and listen of how he talks of his team and country as being more important than any result, trophy or recognition.

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