Former Australian batsman and teammate of Sir Don Bradman, Neil Harvey has very interestingly said that he feels equally responsible, as would England spinner bowler Eric Hollies, for denying arguably the greatest from averaging 100 in Test cricket.
While Eric bowled Don Bradman for a duck when he needed just 4 more runs to average a ton per stay at the crease in his final Test innings, Harvey talked about an incident, which, if had transpired differently, it wouldn't even have come down that day of the Ashes at The Oval on 14 August 1948.
Harvey went back in time and talked about the previous Test at Headingley, where he scored 112 in the first innings and came out to bat at No. 5 in the second, when Bradman was batting unbeaten on 173. Australia needed only four runs more to win the game and Harvey, a youngster at the time, smashed the only ball he faced for a boundary to finish up the proceedings.
It's been 70 long years since then but Harvey still feels guilty that he perhaps took away those four runs from Sir Don, which could've easily been scored by him, to become the only player in the history of the game to average 100.
“That four at Leeds makes me feel very guilty. It’s entirely my fault Bradman didn’t average 100 in Test cricket. If he would have scored those four runs instead of me, he’d have got there," Harvey was quoted saying on Sydney Morning Herald, “I went in and Ken Cranston, a seam bowler from Lancashire, bowled this thing on my leg stump and I whacked it through mid-wicket for four. The public charged onto the ground and I can still remember Bradman [who’d scored 173] yelling, ‘come on son, let’s get out of here’."
Harvey, who finished off his illustrious Test career with 6149 runs in 79 matches at an average of 48.41, further said, “I’m quite willing to take the blame. But I didn’t know he was going to get a duck in his last Test match ... Nobody knew Bradman needed four runs at Leeds; nobody knew he needed four runs when he played in his last Test at the Oval,"
“Statistics were never mentioned back then; there was no television and no one in the press seemed to know. When the poor bloke was bowled that was it. He wasn’t going to get another chance because we dismissed England for 52 in their first innings,” he signed off.
(Inputs from Cricketnext)