Sir Garry Sobers – Cricketer Extraordinaire

When trying to analyze the stature of Sir Garfield Sobers as a cricketer, one cannot but feel awed by the feats achieved by this all-rounder, described as the very best of his kind in the game. The mark of a man is understood by the impact he creates on the minds of everyone who has watched him or read about him or even known about him in some way or the other. Sir Donald Bradman, affectionately known as Don, is often revered as the greatest batsman to have ever lived. However, for some years now, his position as the all time greatest has been threatened by Sachin Tendulkar whose sheer longevity continues to inspire many cricketers and cricket lovers alike. However, the same cannot be said of Sir Garfield who sits pretty as possibly the greatest all-rounder to have graced the game.

Sir Garry is often regarded as one of the finest batsmen to have played the game. He scored 8032 runs in just 93 tests with a mind boggling average of 57.78. He scored 26 centuries in all. His highest was a mammoth 365 not out against Pakistan. He is also remembered for a counter attacking 254 against a young Dennis Lillee in his prime at Melbourne. Notably enough, this innings came on behalf of the Rest of the World.

As a bowler he was a capable fast medium opening bowler who could have played for the West Indies team just as a bowler if he wanted to and this is no mean feat because there were some great fast bowlers at that time like Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith. He was also a very good left arm spinner capable of bowling both orthodox and wrist spin with equal aplomb. In all, he claimed 235 wickets in tests with a best of 6/73 in an inning and 8/80 in a match. He took 6 five-wicket hauls in his storied career.

Besides, he was one of the finest fielders at any position taking 109 catches in his test career. The only thing he never tried out was wicketkeeping – who knows may be he would have been excellent at that as well!

During the early 60s when the system of playing overseas cricketers started in England Sir Gary was one of the top stars and turned out regularly for Nottinghamshire. He also played for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield, the domestic first class tournament of Australia. He was in fact the first player to have hit six sixes in an over performing this feat against Glamorgan spinner Malcolm Nash.

He has also been described as an exceptional athlete which is evident from the fact that he represented Barbados, his country, in golf, basketball and soccer. Noted cricket writer Gideon Haigh has called him the best example of cricketing evolution.