31st August, this day in history: Garry Sobers becomes the first cricketer to smash six 6s in an over
August 31, 1968, St Helen Cricket ground, Swansea. Remember the date.
The 1968 county season was edging towards its conclusion when Nottinghamshire faced Glamorgan. On a beautiful sunny day in Wales, Sir Garry Sobers, the then Nottinghamshire skipper won the toss and elected to bat first. Notts were 5th on the points table and desperately needed a win to meliorate their hopes of going further in the tournament.
After a wonderful century from opener JB Bolus, the Notts had a solid start to the match. With the score reading 308/5, Sir Garfield Sobers was on the field and the need of the hour was to score quick runs so that declaration could come into effect, giving the bowlers an opportunity to have a go at the host batsmen in the final hour of the day.
As Malcolm Nash prepared to run in, AR Lewis, the Glamorgan captain told Nash- a left arm medium pacer by trade, to bowl spin with a hope to better the over rate, a decision they would go on to regret for rest of their lives.
Sobers maniacally went on to enthral the crowd as the left arm orthodox bowler was pummelled all over the ground by the West Indian legend. The leg side boundary was very short which gave Sobers the full license to explore the smallest part of the ground.
The first ball was swung over the mid-wicket boundary into the stands and the second ball too met with the same fate. The third delivery was pushed towards the off-stump, but the West Indies batsman easily punched it over long off for the third six.
The fourth one, quicker and straighter, and just a little short of length was struck over the square leg boundary. The penultimate delivery was pitched straight up. Gary swirled it over the bowler's head, only to mishit it. Roger Devis, at long off, jumped to take the catch, but unfortunately, he had crossed the ropes. Five in a row! Fortune favours the brave as the West Indian All-rounder fancied a history-in-making.
The crowd was applauding the marauding performance they had just witnessed. Every fielder was pushed to the boundary, as Nash bowled the final delivery of the over. It was a short one and Sobers pulled it over the deep square leg, achieving the feat of hitting six consecutive deliveries out of the field.
With this feat, Sir Gary Sobers valiantly became the first batsman in the history to hit the 'Perfect Score' in an over.
Gary Sobers went on to score an unbeaten 76 and helped Notts win the match quite comprehensively by 166 runs. After this feat, Sir Gary Sobers continued to play with full grit throughout his entire career and become one of the best all-rounders the game has ever encountered!
Reminiscing about this incident, Nash once mentioned that he is asked about it if not once a week, then at least once a month. To celebrate this event, a book was launched on its 40th anniversary in 2008.
Below is the video featuring Sir Gary Sobers' brave feat:
It took another 16 years for someone else to duplicate this feat. Ravi Shastri was the one to do it in 1985 in a Ranji match against Baroda. Eight players, up to date, have been able to hit the perfect score in any kind of recognized cricket.
Herschelle Gibbs was the first one to do it in International cricket while Yuvraj Singh was the first one to do it T20Is. Shardul Thakur, Jordan Clarke, Ross Whitely and Ravindra Jadeja make up the others to have achieved this amazing feat.