Richard Stokes: The man who witnessed both the 10-wicket hauls in Test cricket live from the ground
In the history of Test cricket, there have been only two occasions when 10 wickets have been taken in a single inning. The first time this happened was in the 1956 Ashes Test at Old Trafford. England’s Jim Laker became the first bowler to take all wickets in a Test game.
He took a total of 19 Australian wickets for 90, nine for 37 in the first innings and 10 for 53 in the second. Having made his debut in 1948, Laker played 46 Tests for England from which he took 193 wickets until his retirement in 1959. In 1986, at the age of 64, he passed away.
43 years after Laker’s feat, it was replicated by India’s Anil Kumble on this day 21 years ago. He achieved that feat against Pakistan at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla on February 7, 1999.
While not many cricket fans have been fortunate to watch both these 10-wicket hauls live on the television, there was one man who watched it live from the ground!
Richard Stokes was 10 years old when he went to watch the 1956 Ashes Test at Old Trafford, and he happened to be on a business trip to India when he watched Kumble replicate the feat at Kotla.
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Stokes, son of a B-Division Surrey cricketer, had once said:
“I made it to the ground after lunch and Pakistan were very comfortable. Immediately, Kumble got two in an over and I told a friend of mine that I have brought luck to Kumble and India. When he had taken six wickets, I told him about my having watched Laker’s feat, and he just said that history was about to be repeated. I merely laughed.”Published 07 Feb 2020, 14:01 IST