Reading Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan’s Australia Day message was a disconcertingly embarrassing experience. It made me cringe to think Sawn is almost part of my peer group, and quite so chauvinistically stuck in a pre-war mindset that he thinks recalling the Bodyline discourse is of relevance or appeal to any contemporary Australian demographic.
For sane people everywhere, but particularly outside the cricket-playing Commonwealth, Bodyline was the style of attack used by English fast bowlers during the antipodean summer of 1932-33. That’s right: 80 years ago. The bodyline strategy was simple: bowl the cricket ball straight at the batsman with intent to injure or wrongfoot him. It was considered an unsportsmanlike reaction to the almost superhuman batting skills of Australians like Don Bradman, whose batting average was an astonishing 100 per game.