As The Ashes get underway, all the pundits have been dedicating acres of space to the minutiae of everything from tactics and teams to sledging and spirit. One of my favourite articles is the inevitable All-Time England Ashes XI – the first of these I read this year named Sir Leonard Hutton as captain and included players from as long ago as 1901 (Sydney Barnes) and as recently as 2009 (Andrew Flintoff).
Passions run high and deep when it comes to cricket, so it is no surprise that passions run equally high and deep when a really rare and desirable piece of cricketing memorabilia comes up for sale.
Perfectly timed for this year’s Ashes series is the newly announced sale of a bat once owned by arguably the greatest cricketer ever to emerge from Australia – and possible the greatest cricketer of all of the 20th century: Sir Donald Bradman.
It’s not just any old bat either; alongside Bradman’s signature are the signatures of 16 England players, including that of Douglas Jardine, captain of the notorious Bodyline Ashes series of 1932-33, which is still talked about today.
Picked up for a few hundred dollars by a now unemployed man from New Zealand, the bat is expected to sell for up to $35,000. That still seems cheap to me.