Garfield Sobers, 80 not out

Garfield St Aubrun Sobers (nee 1936), Garfield Sobers, Garry (Gary) Sobers, Sir Garfield Sobers (1975) is now 80. A great innings which has left more happy memories for more cricket fans than probably any other cricketer.

Yet, most of his fans are over 60, but there are a lot of us out there. We are Australians, Barbadians, from all over the West Indies, British, Indian and from all the cricketing countries, even Pakistan against whom, as a young man in 1958, Garfield Sobers plundered 365 runs (NOT OUT).

Nevertheless there have been some discussions over which was his best cricket performance. Not having seen enough of them in the early-TV era and being limited to days on the hill at the SCG, Adelaide Oval and the MCG, maybe I accept Sir Donald Bradman’s edict that Gary Sobers’ 254 at the MCG for the Rest of The World team vs Australia in 1972 wins the Oscar, and this feat came somewhat late in his test career.

Garfield Sobers played with the statistician in every aspect of cricket. Undoubtedly, he was the greatest all-rounder in the history of cricket and was probably the foundation of the great era of West Indian cricket (not withstanding Frank Worrell). The tireless Wisden stats show 8032 test runs, at average close to 58, and 235 wickets at 34 each. Yet for the average man his six sixers in an over at the end of August 1968 for Notts in Swansea is the indelible memory.

The examination by Wisden for the greatest cricketers is exacting. Garfield Sobers won the annual award eight times, way ahead of everyone else but Sir Donald (10). In the final exam, Don Bradman was awarded 100%, Garfield Sobers got 90% and the best of the rest, all great cricketers, were awarded about 30%. A difficult test and one that only the finest two cricketers of all time could master.

Sir Garfield Sobers, a master artist of the game, a man who through his talent brought together art and sport, thanks for the memories from your grand innings.

(This article is amended from and published under licence from Energitismo Limited)