336 first-class matches, 7,129 runs, 993 wickets at an average of under 26, 146 catches - figures worth appreciation and recognition. But if you are Malcolm Nash, you are not remembered for all these figures. Gary Sobers and his six sixes - this is what comes to the mind first - when you say Malcolm Nash, with many probably unaware of these numbers Malcolm Nash possessed.
Malcolm Andrew Nash was born in 1945 and played for Glamorgan. Primarily a left arm medium pace bowler, he was regarded as a thoughtful and skilled cricketer. He could also chip in with the bat and scored some useful runs too.
He played for Glamorgan from 1966 to 1983, captaining the side twice. The fact that Nash was only 23 when he was hit for six sixes in an over and still managed to cling on reveals his mental strength and willpower too.
In 1968, Nottinghamshire was playing Glamorgan at Swansea. Notts, led by Gary Sobers batted first and at 308-5, the captain himself felt the urge for quick runs. Nash was experimenting by bowling slow. It is widely believed that Derek Underwood’s success was behind this. Nash had already got 4 out of the five wickets to have fallen.
After the first three were out of the fence, Nash refused to go back to bowling fast. After being hit for six sixes, Nash was not of the opinion that he had bowled a bad over- he accepted that the last ball which was deposited out of the ground over midwicket was quite bad though. Sobers thus became the first cricketer to hit six sixes off an over. Nash, in hindsight, wanted to bowl over the wicket though.
In 1977, Frank Hayes scored 34 runs off Nash, but as the second ball was hit for a four, there was no chance of Sobers' record being equalled. Nash is also famously known for being attacking. He refused to bowl down the leg side or wide outside off even during the fateful over against Sobers - his theory being bowlers do not get batsmen out unless they attack them.
Nash had his share of stardom too- he took 71 wickets in a season in which Glamorgan won the County Championship. He also helped them beat Australia once when he ended up taking five wickets. He himself also hit four consecutive sixes once. In a limited-overs match, he scored a century off 61 balls with seven fours and seven sixes.
After retirement, he migrated to North America and worked as a coach in USA and Canada. He had his share of health problems too. Also worth mentioning is the controversy over the ball which was used to bowl against Sobers. It is widely believed that three different Duke balls were used. Nash rejects this version of the incident and says a Stuart Surridge was used - which has been echoed by few of his teammates. The ball which Nash never used fetched a huge sum in an auction.
While Nash fights against his heart problems, the Professional cricketers association has lent a helping hand to him. He also had a cordial relationship with Gary Sobers.
It is unfortunate that a player with such good career statistics is remembered for an over ( or two in his case).