ICC World Cup Tour Diary: A visit to Bradman Museum and The Interntional Cricket Hall of Fame
The Bradman Oval
For a cricket fan visiting Australia, a visit to the village of Bowral, where Australia’s greatest cricketer Sir Donald Bradman was born is a must. The Bradman Oval is where Sir Don played cricket in his younger days and is now a fitting tribute to the legend.
The ground is picturesque and styled in a very traditional way with white picket fencing, an old wooden scorecard, wooden white sightscreens and a nice small club house making it a beautiful view for cricket lovers. The ground is maintained by a helpful set of local staff who are more than happy to share their experiences of fans coming in to see the ground. They said the most enthusiastic fans who came to ground were from India and were mightily impressed with the humility of Sachin Tendulkar when he had paid a visit here late last year.
Alongside the ground is a statue of Sir Don doffing off the baggy green in his typical languid style. The Bradman Oval is supported by the state of New South Wales and hosts non-first class matches, coaching camps for youngsters and is also available for private/corporate bookings.
Interestingly, the main wicket was initially made of concrete but in the mid-1940s, it was changed to a regular turf wicket to enable a higher level of competition. The ground has since hosted some non-competitive, but memorable cricket games, including one game in 1976 where Sir Don himself batted.
Bowral is an hour’s drive away from Sydney and can be easily located over the local GPS.
The International Cricket Hall of Fame
The International Cricket Hall of Fame has been created close to The Bradman Oval, in a small village of Bowral where the young Sir Don honed his cricketing skills. The museum celebrates the rich history of the sport and is a beautiful experience for cricket fans.
The museum has used Interactive Touch Screens to inform, entertain and engage cricket fans. Well edited and rare video footages document the history and evolution of cricket over decades. Signed memorabilia of top international players is maintained in top condition and some of the oldest cricketing gear allows fans to appreciate how moderately protected batsmen of previous eras were.
Entry to the museum is at 15 AUD and visitors are free to step outside and come back again in the day. The on-site Stumps Café offers superb coffee and a choice of some refreshments for visitors.
The beginning of the museum is a brilliant collection of cricketing souvenirs – Bradman merchandise, cricket books, team jerseys from the 1992 Cricket World Cup, general cricket merchandise and a special section for Team India merchandise. It’s difficult to walk in without picking up something from here.
Some of the sections which I thoroughly enjoyed were:
From Backyard to Baggy Green
A collection of all cricketing caps that Adam Glichrist accumulated during his journey from playing backyard cricket to donning the Baggy Green, which is the ultimate dream of a young Aussie cricket fan. Gilchrist is a modern-day legend of the game and the various caps representing various levels of the sport show young cricketers the effort required to make it to the top.
A wall where some of my favourite cricketing heroes are displayed together – a wall which felicitates cricketers who have been inducted into the Bradman Hall of Fame. Tendulkar, Steve Waugh, Rahul Dravid, Mark Taylor and Glenn McGrath feature from the modern era.
History of Bodyline and World Series Cricket
A beautiful video series capture how Bodyline and World Series Cricket (WSC) originated and the impact they caused on the sport. I could not but help spot that Puma was endorsed by Ian Chappell and Dennis Lillee during the WSC days. Some of the marketing campaigns during WSC were superb and fans can just imagine how popular players like Tony Greig and Lillee must have been in those days.
How tall are you section?
A dedicated section, where you can literally compare yourself with the heights of various cricketers to have graced the game. When you compare yourself with the height of England fast bowler Chris Tremlett, you just have to thank your stars that you do not have to go bat against him.
Bradman the administrator wall
Post his retirement, Sir Don actually was a successful selector and administrator of the game in Australia and a beautiful selection of images capture that aspect of the legend.
A wall dedicated to the first truly great cricket team – The Invincibles which was captained by Sir Don.
The museum also has an audio-visual section for the greats of the game in different eras. Rare footage of Sir Vivian Richards batting against Lillee in WSC games is a must see and my personal favourite were the videos of Shane Warne casting his magic spells over the English and South African batsmen.
This is a cricketing shrine – an absolute delight for cricket fans. A parting tip, take time out and see the museum, give yourself at least 2-3 hours if you really want to read through and capture things here.