Coaches often explain the importance of playing each ball on merit and respecting the bowler’s abilities. In the modern game, however, scoring runs quickly has gained prime importance, and the batsmen have pre-devised plans to send the bowlers’ rhythm into disarray.Recently, Moeen Ali achieved one of the rare feats in cricket, hitting six fours off a single over in England’s practice match against Sri Lanka A. Vishwa Fernando, a promising young bowler reminiscent of a young Chaminda Vaas, was at the receiving end.While the feats of Yuvraj Singh and Herschelle Gibbs’ six sixes has become common folklore in cricket, here’s a look at five batsmen to achieved the feat of six fours in a single over in International cricket.
#1 Sandip Patil (India) - Test
Popular with the masses for his aggressive batting and good looks, Sandip Patil was an integral part of India’s middle order for close to half a decade.
At Old Trafford in 1982, India were 136-5 in response to England’s 425. The visitors had already lost the first Test, and if it weren’t for Patil’s innings, couldn’t have saved the second one too. In a remarkable innings of 129, Patil hit 18 fours and 2 sixes. He hit six of the eighteen 4s in a single Bob Willis over.
The first delivery was short and wide and was dispatched to the extra cover boundary. He hammered the second ball, a short loosener, back over the bowler’s head. The third delivery, a no-ball, was punched on the backfoot to bring up another boundary.
The fourth one was cut behind point, making it four fours off the over. He reached his hundred with another square cut past the gully fielder. Willis tried to surprise him with a bouncer, but in vain, as Patil hooked it with style to complete the set of six fours.
#2 Chris Gayle (WI) - Test
Before the advent of T20 cricket, Chris Gayle was an aggressive young batsman in an experienced West Indies batting lineup. Post Lara’s retirement, he has been anchoring the top order in his own inimitable style.
In the third innings of the fourth Test in England in 2004, with the series already lost 3-0, Gayle decided to unleash his aggressive instincts on England’s new ball bowler, Matthew Hoggard. With the Windies 308 runs behind, Gayle hit all six of Hoggard’s deliveries for fours.
He started with a flick to the midwicket fence and a crunching drive to the extra cover boundary. He followed it up with a backfoot punch and a cover drive to the exact same region. Michael Vaughan’s hapless shuffling of fielders made no difference, as the next one, a short ball, was duly dispatched to the fine leg fence. The final ball was thumped to the extra cover boundary to complete the record.
#3 Ramnaresh Sarwan (West Indies) - Test
A couple of years after Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan repeated the feat against Munaf Patel, touted as the fastest bowler in the country at that time.
With West Indies in a comfortable position of 280-1, Sarwan launched into the bowling of Munaf, who was playing only his fifth Test. His first delivery, short and wide, was met with a crunching drive on the off side. The second ball, also short but on the leg side, was pulled to the midwicket boundary. The third delivery, fuller and slower, was uppishly driven just past cover to complete a hat-trick of fours.
Sarwan almost chopped the fourth delivery onto his stumps, but the thick edge ensured that the ball reached the boundary, inviting a sheepish smile from the bowler. He square cut the fifth delivery for four and moved on to 95. The last delivery, a no-ball, was ferociously cut to the point boundary.
#4 Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) - Test
Jayasuriya has played Test cricket in the same vein as limited overs for close to seventeen years with a great deal of success. In his last Test innings, he picked out 25-year-old Anderson for special treatment.
In the first Test of England’s tour to Sri Lanka in 2007, the hosts were on the backseat after conceding a 93-run lead.
The first delivery, short and wide, was cover-driven for four. He tried to repeat the shot and got a thick outside edge as the ball travelled past the first slip for four more runs.
A gentle push past the gully fielder went for four more runs, as frustration started showing on Anderson’s face. He tried bowling short, but the ball was easily deposited to the square leg fence to make it four in four.
Another half volley and another lofted cover drive helped Jayasuriya reach his fifty. Anderson changed sides for the last delivery of the over, but Jayasuriya just placed it past the gully fielder to complete the set of six fours.
#5 Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka) - ODIs
Following the retirement of Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka needed stability and experience at the top of the order. Dilshan, a late bloomer in International cricket, has stacked up loads of runs with his strong offside play and innovative shots. He had a memorable 2011 WC, top scoring in the tournament and helping the Lankans reach the finals.
In the 2015 World Cup fixture against Australia, Dilshan came out all guns blazing. In the sixth over of the Sri Lankan chase, he smote Mitchell Johnson for fours off each delivery.
The first two deliveries were driven past the bowler, the third to the midwicket fence, the fourth over square leg, and the last two were driven past cover. His 62-run effort and Sangakkara’s century were not enough for the Lankans in their chase of 377.