Sobers 60 years on
From Tony Cozier
SIR Garry Sobers – the Right Excellent Sir Garfield St. Aubyn Sobers to accord him his full title as a knight of the realm and the only living national hero of his native Barbados – is not the type who makes a fuss over his achievements as, in the words of the 1965 calypso, “the greatest cricketer on Earth or Mars”.
If he is inclined to play down his two coincidentally simultaneous anniversaries tomorrow, he is sure to have been reminded of their significance several times in the past few days. They mark the start and the end of his celebrated Test career.
March 30 is 60 years to the day since Sobers first appeared in a Test match for West Indies, against England in 1954 at Kingston’s Sabina Park. It is precisely 40 since his last, also against England, at Port-of-Spain’s Queen’s Park Oval in 1974.
He took the field at Sabina as a boy of 17 from the working-class district of Bayland on the outskirts of Bridgetown, raised, along with five siblings, by a mother widowed by the loss of her seaman husband to a German torpedo during World War II; her second son had no formal coaching, just a love and an aptitude for any ball game.
He was a late, like-for-like replacement for left-arm spinner Alf Valentine, who was injured; he batted at No.9. His selection was based primarily on his unquestionable talent, obvious in his only two preceding first-class matches for Barbados, against the touring Indians the year before and the …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.