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Garfield Sobers turns 81, rare footage of cricket great who hit 6 6s in an over

West Indies cricket team legend Sir Garfield Sobers, one of the greatest cricketers of all time, had many records to his credit with some of his feats unmatched even now

cricket Updated: Jul 28, 2017 18:15 IST
HT Correspondent
Sir Garfield Sobers rings the five minute bell in memory of Mohammed Ali during the 3rd Test match between England and Sri Lanka at Lord's Cricket Ground on June 10, 2016.
Sir Garfield Sobers rings the five minute bell in memory of Mohammed Ali during the 3rd Test match between England and Sri Lanka at Lord's Cricket Ground on June 10, 2016.(Getty Images)

Arguably the greatest all-rounder ever , Sir Garfield Sobers turned 81 on Friday. The former West Indies cricket team player, who played 93 Tests and one One-Day International (ODI), not only dazzled with his all-round exploits but stories of his off-field adventures still confound the regular cricket fan.

Born with six fingers in each hand, Sobers grew up in Barbados, often busy at the Wanderers ground changing numbers on the scorecard.

He made his Test debut against England cricket team in 1954, and it was the start of a dream journey. By the time Sobers retired 20 years later, he was the highest run-scorer in Tests, second highest wicket-taker for the West Indies, and overall the third in the list of those who took most catches as non wicketkeepers.

As a batsman he averaged a superlative 57.78, smacking 26 centuries and 30 fifties in 93 Tests to make 8,032 runs. He began with a bang: 365 not out at Kingston against Pakistan — his maiden Test ton — which still remains the highest score by a batsman from either side. Against the Australians, playing for the Rest of the World XI, his 254 earned praise from Sir Donald Bradman.

Garfield Sobers in action for the West Indies cricket team. (Getty Images)

Sobers’ long list of legendary feats is topped by the six sixes in as many balls off Malcolm Nash for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan.

As a bowler, Sobers was as versatile as anyone could be. He bowled left-arm orthodox as well as wrist-spin, but when presented with a new ball, he would also prove to be a fine left-arm fast-medium bowler. No surprises when his wickets tally show as many as 235 wickets, with six fifers.

On the tour of England in 1973, he was asked by Clive Lloyd for a night out. It was Sobers’ last Test series in England, and unbeaten on 31 overnight, he was not the one who would refuse.

“I have so much liquor in my head that if I go home to the hotel and go to bed, I am not going to wake up,” he told former West Indies spinner Reg Scarlett at some point in the night. Sobers went on drinking, and it was at dawn when he realised there was no point sleeping.

Sobers went to have a shower, padded up and walked straight into the match. It was only after missing five deliveries off Bob Willis, he set his eyes in to stroke his way to an astounding 150 not out, studded with 19 boundaries.

He was knighted in 1975.