Born on 28 July, 1936 at Bay Land, Bridgetown in Barbados. Trevor Bailey, the former England all-rounder, has described Sir Gary Sobers thus: “The greatest all-rounder in cricket history; absolutely unique. One of the finest batsmen ever, a triple purpose bowler, good enough to be chosen for West Indies purely as a seamer, wrist-spinner or orthodox slow left-armer, and a superb fieldsman. There has never been a more complete cricketer.”
Sobers made his first test appearance at the age of 17 against England, at Kingston, in the 1953-54 series and took 4 for 75. Four years later he broke Len Hutton’s record for the highest score in test cricket by scoring 365 not out against Pakistan at Kingston. His 254 for the Rest of the World at Melbourne in 1972 has been described as the best innings ever seen in Australia by none other than Sir Donald Bradman. In 93 test matches, Sobers scored 8,032 runs at an average of 57.78 including 26 hundreds and 50 fifties. He also claimed 235 wickets at 34.03 apiece and held 109 catches. He also holds the dubious distinction of scoring a duck in the only one-day international he has played!
As a test captain, Sobers led by example and rarely did he let the burdens of captaincy affect his performance. A born gambler who loved being at the derby, he was too adventurous at times. He once lost a test match against England with a sporting declaration that drew flak from all and sundry. But that’s the way he played his cricket! He hit Malcolm Nash of Glamorgan in a County match for six sixes in an over. Nash swears that the last hit, which disappeared into the river close-by, was not a six. It was a twelve! He was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1964, was knighted for his services to cricket in 1975 and was chosen one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century recently. A genius and a gentleman!