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Tony Shillinglaw's theory of Bradman
Sunday 23rd March 2003

Merseyside may be a hotbed of soccer - but a book being published locally next week may ultimately pave the way to a major rethink in English cricket.

Author Tony Shillinglaw's five year study of legendary batsman Donald Bradman reveals the reasons behind the Australian's phenomenal success. He calls on the cricket authorities to give a fair hearing to the book's findings.

"Throughout Test history, orthodox batting has produced an average of 60, while Don Bradman's rotary method produced an average of 99.94," Tony explained.

"There are two distinct styles of batting, grip and stance, and surely these facts alone demand an investigation into Bradman's methods of development and style of play.

"Our minimum aim is to open the debate that there are two styles - the pendulum style, the orthodox MCC coaching for youngsters, or the rotary by Sir Don.

"We have seen styles like his in this World Cup through the likes of Michael Bevan."

After five years of research the book, co-written by friend Brian Hale and entitled 'Bradman Revisited - the Legacy of Sir Donald Bradman', has received official backing from one of England's former greats, Geoff Boycott, who has written the foreword, and Richard Mulvaney, curator of the Bradman Museum in Australia, among others.

Said Tony: "It is eight years since the idea of a book first dawned on me and it has taken five years for the book to come to fruition."

The catalyst for it came one evening when he was speaking to a highly experienced cricket coach, who simply dismissed Bradman as being unorthodox and therefore not to be copied.

But Tony retorted: "The aim is to have Bradman's methods of development and style understood and explained for the benefit of future generations of batsmen - not as a dogma, but as an option.

"It won't produce another Bradman but, overall, standards would improve.

"Sir Don stated that if he had batted in orthodox fashion he could not have got the runs he did."

Tony points out that while English cricket has produced some brilliant batsmen down the decades, none have been anywhere near as prolific as The Don. And the fact that we have been well beaten in the winter Test series in Australia and failed to progress to the later stages of the World Cup indicates that current techniques are not totally successful.

"We are in the hands of others now, but we are looking for someone from the cricket fraternity to take up the fight."

Tony, a well known former Liverpool Competition (Birkenhead Park and Sefton) and Cheshire all rounder, believes the book opens up the debate on batting technique. Typically, approaches to the sport's governing body in this country have so far been met with a straight bat.

But Tony added: "It's like a big match coming up. All you can do is your best and hope it is well received."

The book will be distributed next week and is also being sold in Australia.

'Bradman Revisited - The Legacy of Sir Donald Bradman' by AL Shillinglaw, is published by the Parrs Wood Press, Manchester, price 15.00 and is available from April.