Bruce Dooland was not selected by his native Australia for the 1948 tour to England; Bradman's final tour squad was rated then as the strongest ever to be assembled by that country, so the South Australian's omission was not too surprising. Dooland, like a number of his Sheffield Shield colleagues, travelled to England to play in League cricket. Nottinghamshire saw his potential and signed him but he had to serve a two-year residential qualification before he could play Championship cricket.
The county team was at a low ebb and Dooland had the responsibility of being the first overseas import brought in specifically to strengthen the team.
Dooland played his first game for Notts in 1953. It required a match or two for him to acclimatise himself to three-day county matches (as they were then), but by the season's end he had taken 172 wickets - the most by any bowler in England. The irony of the situation was that Australia were touring for the first time since Bradman's victorious rampage and this time England won the Ashes.
There were calls for Dooland to reinforce the failing touring side, but the Australian selectors were set against recruiting any of their countrymen now in county cricket, of which there were several.
In his second season of English cricket Dooland took in all 196 wickets, again the most by any bowler. Of these 181 were for Notts, creating a record that still stands. Present day players might shudder to read that Dooland bowled 1,287 overs in that summer; he also scored more than 1,000 runs. Bruce Dooland was one of Wisden's five 'Cricketers of the Year' for 1955 and was twice selected for the 'Players' in the Gentlemen v Players annual match at Lord's.
His speciality was the top-spinner, which he used in addition to his normal leg breaks. Only occasionally did he employ a googly, but his variation of pace and flight were the elements that really deceived innocent batsman. Benaud often recalls how Dooland taught him the tricks of the trade. In his third season at Trent Bridge he captured another 150 wickets, but just missed achieving the Double.
His final season with Notts was 1957 when he not only topped the bowling table, but came second in the batting averages, his figures in all games being 1,604 runs and 141 wickets. The County were keen for him to continue but he decided he wanted his children educated in Australia and thus after five years of county cricket he returned to his native land. No Notts bowler has ever taken as many first-class wickets in a five-year span.
Bruce Dooland was born in Adelaide on 1 November 1923. At the age of 17, after some very impressive performances in local cricket, he was selected to play for South Australia, but his employer refused permission to release him. Drafted into the Australian Forces he saw service in the Pacific, before returning to South Australia for his first-class debut in 1945-46. Clearly being watched by the Australian selectors he was picked for the Australian team to tour New Zealand, but did not play in the single Test. His international debut therefore came when England visited Australia in 1946-47. Again in the 1947-48 season he played in Test cricket, this time v India, but, as has been noted, missed selection for the 1948 tour to England. After going back to Australia, he re-appeared in a few games for South Australia.
He also played baseball for the West Torrens Baseball Club and was regarded as one of the best pitchers in his state, and represented Australia at baseball as well as cricket. He is West Torrens Baseball Club Team of the Century member.
Bruce Dooland died in Adelaide on 8 September 1980 at the early age of 56.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 398