Melbourne: Legendary cricketer and one of the most iconic and revered figures in Australian sport, Sir Donald George Bradman, who is widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman of all time, was loathed by Australian cricketers, according to World Series Cricket outcast Gary Cosier.
Cosier, who is portrayed in Channel Nine`s hit TV series Howzat!, also believes Kerry Packer’s famous cricket revolution was almost as much spurred by the players’ dislike of establishment figure Bradman than money.
He further said that many players of the 1970s loathed Sir Don, and added that key Packer signing Ian Chappell was initially at loggerheads with establishment figure Bradman over South Australian cricket issues in the ‘70s.
Bradman was a powerbroker in South Australian cricket and SA captain Chappell was furious over several domestic issues.
Cosier believes Chappell’s problems with Bradman in South Australia was one of the catalysts for Chappell and many top Australian players railing against Bradman and signing breakaway contracts with Packer, news.com.au reports.
One flashpoint was when South Australia picked Bob Blewett, the father of Greg Blewett, against specific advice from Chappell.
“Ian made 180 against Victoria one day and made sure we won the Shield,” Cosier, who did not receive a WSC contract, recalls: “While he was in the middle, the selectors picked the team for an eastern states tour without him. They put Bob Blewett in there, when Ian had specifically told them he was not to be selected. They did that without consulting Ian - and that caused a huge furore for some time.”
“The thing that hasn`t been written before is that during the 1977 Centenary Test at our pre-match gathering, Rod Marsh and a few other players were just so harsh on Bradman,” Cosier told The Courier-Mail.
“We were there to play against the Poms the next day and Sir Donald got as big a serve as any of the Englishmen did - probably a lot more. There was an intense, I don`t know if hatred is the right word, but dislike (for Bradman).
“Plenty of the players were carrying on about Bradman and saying they couldn`t stand him. As long as Bradman was alive, they thought he kind of ran Australian cricket, and they didn`t like that.”
Cosier, 59, believes the breakaway war which led to day-night cricket in coloured clothes was about Packer versus Bradman as much as it was about anything else.