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Bradman, cricket's greatest, is dead

ADELAIDE, Australia (CNN) -- The world's greatest cricketer, Sir Donald Bradman, has died aged 92.

Sir Donald died Sunday morning in his home in Adelaide, South Australia. He will be cremated in a private family ceremony later this week.

Bradman was to cricket what Tiger Woods is to golf, Michael Jordan is to basketball and Babe Ruth is to baseball.

He towered over the game as a player and became the living embodiment of all that cricket fans saw as good sportsmanship and fair play.

He was known to many as The Don and was worshipped throughout the cricketing world, perhaps more avidly in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka than in his homeland.

The number 99.94 is legendary in Australia because it is Bradman's batting average. He required just four runs in his last innings to record an average of 100, but was out for no score.

Some say it was because he had a tear in his eye from the crowd's rapturous welcome. At the peak of his batting powers, when he was scoring hundreds of runs almost at will, one newspaper poster in Britain simply said: 'He's Out' and everyone knew what had happened.

Bradman led the touring Australian 1948 side which did not lose a match in England and became known as The Invincibles, rated by many as the best-ever cricket side.

Before the war, an English captain named Douglas Jardine tried to use fast, bouncing bowlers to beat Bradman. The Bodyline series caused such controversy that it was on the verge of escalating into a political crisis between England and Australia.

Tributes were pouring in for Bradman on Monday from all over the cricketing world.

Sir Donald's son, John, said the private service and cremation in Adelaide would be followed several weeks later by a public memorial service, also in Adelaide.

That service would be held at night to allow as many people as possible to take part.

"The family asks that the privacy of the funeral be respected," Bradman said.

"The memorial service will be open to the public."

Mr Bradman said his father had asked that instead of sending flowers, mourners should send donations to the Bradman Foundation in Bowral, New South Wales, for a special Bradman Memorial Fund.

"This special trust fund is to be separately administered through the foundation by a committee comprising the foundation, the Australian Cricket Board and the Bradman family," he said.

"The fund will go entirely to the promotion and encouragement of cricket in disadvantaged communities, including indigenous communities."

Director of the Bradman Foundation Richard Mulvaney confirmed the cricket legend's death Monday morning.

"Sir Donald Bradman died yesterday morning, peacefully at his home, after a short illness with pneumonia," Mulvaney told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Mulvaney said Sir Donald died peacefully in his sleep.

Cricket's bible, Wisden, last year named Bradman as the best cricketer of the 20th century.

Record unlikely to be bettered

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Sir Donald had been Australia's most dominant figure for many decades. Howard made an unscheduled trip to see Sir Donald in his Adelaide home just last week and said he had been aware of how ill he was.

"I want to express on behalf of the entire Australian nation our sympathy," Howard said.

Sir Donald is survived by his son John and daughter Shirley after Lady Jessie Bradman died in September 1997.

Raised in the small country town of Bowral in the state of New South Wales, Sir Donald was revered by cricketers the world over, and many of his accomplishments as a batsman are unlikely to be eclipsed.

He moved from New South Wales to Adelaide in 1934 with his wife and two children.

In 52 Test matches from 1928 to 1948, he scored 6,996 runs at an average of 99.94.

Following his retirement from first class cricket in 1949, Sir Donald became an Australian selector and served two, three-year terms as chairman of the Australian Cricket Board.

Bradman Collection
Australian cricket

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