Sir Garfield Sobers' "six sixes" cricket ball goes to auction
West Indies cricketer Sir Garfield Sobers was widely regarded as one of the best all-round (bat, bowl and field) cricketers in history and the best cricketer of his time, which sadly came to an end before Twenty20 cricket arrived. Sobers feats with the bat include hitting a ball out of the Melbourne Cricket Ground during a test match - he would undoubtedly have been one of the best T20 players of all time too.
Indeed, the last part of Sobers' 20 year test career became embroiled in the upheavals of World Series cricket (where he captained "the rest of the world" team) and no doubt his Test match figures would be even better had he remained in the Test arena. Ironically, his legacy includes having been part of the revolution which freed cricket from the traditions which were strangling it and led to the one day 50 over game and the more recent T20 game.
Sobers took 235 Test wickets with the ball, but it was his batting which was beyond special - for a while he held the highest Test score in history (365 not out) and even today 37 years after his retirement, his batting average is still the ninth best in history at international Test level. Sobers could win a match with bat or ball, and it is often said that in choosing the greatest team in history, everyone would have just two common players - Sir Donald Bradman and Sir Garfield Sobers.
Apart from being knighted, the best known of many Gary Sobers claim-to-fame feats was his six sixes in an over achieved in 1968 at Swansea whilst Sobers was captaining English county team Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan.
For those unfamiliar with the game of cricket, you score six runs for hitting the ball over the boundary line ON THE FULL. In 1968, Sobers became the first person in the history of cricket to hit every ball of an over (six balls) for six!
The unlucky bowler was Malcom Nash who although bowling two of the four worst overs ever bowled in first class cricket, was a handy player whose first class record saw him score 7129 runs, take 148 catches and claim 993 wickets.
The other players to have achieved the rare feat of scoring six consecutive sixes in one over are:
Ravi Shastri (India)
Unfortunately, there no video of this innings as we have with the other three. It was achieved by another all-rounder in Shastri on January 1985 who played one of the fiercest innings ever seen. Playing at home for Bombay against Baroda, Shastri went on a rampage unequalled in first class cricket history. His first 100 took just 72 minutes and 80 balls, at which point he stepped up the pace.
The second 100 required only 41 minutes and 43 balls, giving him the fastest 200 in first class cricket history - 200 runs in just 123 balls and 113 minutes. Thirty six of those runs came off a single over bowled by Tilak Raj.
Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa)
Herschelle Gibbs hit six sixes in a World Cup qualifier against Holland on 16 March, 2007. The feat was captured on video.
Yuvraj Singh (India)
Whilst Gary Sobers' brand of cavalier cricket made him stand out from the crowd, and become a much loved sportsman of the sixties, one wonders how he would have performed in the T20 game. He was a big match player who performed when it counted.
Just the same, in terms of remarkably skillful cricketing innings, Yuvraj Singh's demolition of England's Stuart Broad during the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup, was certainly one of the best innings ever witnessed (VIDEO).
Prior indications of the price the ball will fetch
The short handled Slazenger bat with which Sobers hit his six sixes was auctioned 12 years ago by Christies and set a world record at that time for a cricket bat, selling for GBP54,257.
Interestingly, the same auction saw the bat Sobers used to score his the world record of 365 not out against Pakistan in Jamaica in 1958 sold for GBP47,476 - both prices were almost three times the previous highest sum paid for a cricket bat, but the six sixes bat won the record.
By comparison, the ball is an absolute steal at the estimate fetching price of GBP20,000 to GBP25,000.
The ball will bve auctioned as part of the Bonhams Summer Sporting Sales, specifically as part of the "Sporting Memorabilia" sale on May 29.