Paul Ford January 21, 2009

Slogger’s Paradise

As you can see, Thornton’s gargantuan effort dwarfs the contemporary players’ tonks
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Down here in New Zealand, wannabe national heroes can be spotted executing standing barbell curls, lying barbell extensions, reverse curls and dumbbell wrist curls as they strengthen up their arms for next month’s assault on cult hero status.

Why? Because, in an echo of baseball’s homerun derby and golf’s world’s longest driver competition, the quest to find the nation's most monstrous six-hitter is on, via the inaugural Big Hits Competition. New Zealand's longest tonker of a white cricket ball will be found at the final of the domestic cricket Twenty20 competition at the Cake Tin in Wellington on 26 February. Here, qualifiers from each of the six provinces, a nominee from domestic cricket, and one of the New Zealand team will be pitted against each other in an 8-way slog-off.

The domestic player will be found at the official launch event in Auckland early next month where nominees from each of the teams will unleash. My nominees would be: Central Districts (Mathew Sinclair), Northern Districts (Peter McGlashan), Wellington (Graham Napier), Auckland (Chris Martin – surely someone has to take the piss), Canterbury (Peter Fulton) and Otago (Dimitri Mascarenhas).

The challenge could be made harder if the pace of the bowler is not utilised – if it is lobbed then the hitter will have to generate all the horsepower. I was never a Physics maestro but I would rather have someone like Mark Gillespie bowling at me if I was trying to thrash one over the fence, down the road and into tomorrow.

The Hawke’s Bay Today has called for an end to speculation about the biggest six-hitter on the world cricket stage later this year: “If the ICC is prepared to dig deep into its pockets, that question can be answered once all the cricketing protagonists let the dust settle in their respective countries to send their delegates to the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup in England from June 5-21.”

The lustiest blows that I have sighted in the flesh would include a couple by Chris Cairns out of the Basin Reserve into Kent Terrace and onto the roof of the stand at Eden Park respectively, Andre Adams in the nets practising for Auckland at the Outer Oval, and Ricky Ponting bludgeoning one onto the ASB Stand at Eden Park in the moustache/afro/beard/beige-out Twenty20 match.

For the record, the biggest six in the world (according to the Wisden Cricketer) seems to be the one at the end of the arc of Charles “Buns” Thornton's swing while netting at the County Ground at Hove on 25 August 1876: “Thornton is generally considered to have been the longest hitter the game has ever known. He was a well-built six-footer, and though he had small forearms and biceps, he was very strong in the hips, and he jumped in at the ball with a tremendous free swing of the bat…He seldom wore batting gloves, and believed that the absence of impedimenta helped his freedom of movement and the swing of the bat.”

The distance travelled sans impedimenta? Nobody knows for sure, but it was around about a humungous 168 yards or 154 metres.

In terms of more recent numbers bandied about, these are the top efforts according to some late-night research at Beige Brigade HQ and the wisdom of crowds:

Albie Morkel - 124m Yuvraj Singh - 119m Ross Taylor - 112m Misbah Ul-Haq - 111m Shahid Afridi - unconfirmed (WACA)

Honourable mentions: Lance Cairns monstering Geoff Lawson at the MCG Mark Waugh pummelling Daniel Vettori at the WACA

As you can see, Thornton’s gargantuan effort dwarfs the contemporary players’ tonks. Another sad fact is that the winner of the biggest slog competition will probably receive more coverage than the domestic team who win the centrepiece final – the sideshow to a sideshow. Let’s hope not.

Paul Ford is a co-founder of the Beige Brigade. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Scott on January 29, 2009, 2:20 GMT

    Hey Reg, the same Garfield who now coaches at East Shirley? He is a great coach i play in the 2b team there now, i might have to let him know about this ;)

  • Formerly from the south on January 25, 2009, 23:45 GMT

    @Reg Corres, Garfeild used to my coach in Christchurch and I can confirm his hitting power, unfortunately his eyes aren't what they used to be the last time I bowled him a wrongun he took it square in the nuts!!

  • sreevatsa on January 24, 2009, 7:59 GMT

    I remember bret lee hitting zaheer khan out of nairobi gymakhana, ICC knock out trophy,99/00

  • Eddie H-H on January 23, 2009, 23:21 GMT

    I also remember a Brett Lee hit that went out of the stadium and into some nets that's one of the biggest hits I have ever seen as well as Albie Morkel's 124m hit at the world t20

  • Phil on January 22, 2009, 18:12 GMT

    I know there have been some mighty hitters over the years, but I just don't think anyone could top Cairns (Chris that is, not Lance - although they probably didn't have a six-and-out rule in their backyard!)

  • Reg Corres on January 22, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    The biggest six I have ever seen hit was by Garfield Charles, a West Indian fella who now coaches in Canterbury. For those of you who know Timaru Boys High School, he hit one from the Rectory straight down the ground and over the Bull Block. That is a massive six, easily over 100 metres.

  • Lefty on January 22, 2009, 5:42 GMT

    haha Nick, we used to have a rule like that. too far and your out, keyword: control :D

  • Stephen on January 22, 2009, 2:57 GMT

    Saw Brett Lee hit Fidel Edwards out of the Gabba once with a monstrous slog once, during one of the Windies' more recent tours...

  • Nick on January 22, 2009, 2:43 GMT

    surely several of Astle's 6s in his 222 were well over the 100m mark? and my 6 2 weekends ago at my mates backyard was at least 24m, one of the biggest hits seen at his house, but also resulted in my dismissal.

  • Dave on January 22, 2009, 2:23 GMT

    I think the Mark Waugh shot at the WACA that landed on top of the Lillee-Marsh stand would have to go close. The distance would be reduced coz it ended up on the roof but still...

  • Scott on January 29, 2009, 2:20 GMT

    Hey Reg, the same Garfield who now coaches at East Shirley? He is a great coach i play in the 2b team there now, i might have to let him know about this ;)

  • Formerly from the south on January 25, 2009, 23:45 GMT

    @Reg Corres, Garfeild used to my coach in Christchurch and I can confirm his hitting power, unfortunately his eyes aren't what they used to be the last time I bowled him a wrongun he took it square in the nuts!!

  • sreevatsa on January 24, 2009, 7:59 GMT

    I remember bret lee hitting zaheer khan out of nairobi gymakhana, ICC knock out trophy,99/00

  • Eddie H-H on January 23, 2009, 23:21 GMT

    I also remember a Brett Lee hit that went out of the stadium and into some nets that's one of the biggest hits I have ever seen as well as Albie Morkel's 124m hit at the world t20

  • Phil on January 22, 2009, 18:12 GMT

    I know there have been some mighty hitters over the years, but I just don't think anyone could top Cairns (Chris that is, not Lance - although they probably didn't have a six-and-out rule in their backyard!)

  • Reg Corres on January 22, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    The biggest six I have ever seen hit was by Garfield Charles, a West Indian fella who now coaches in Canterbury. For those of you who know Timaru Boys High School, he hit one from the Rectory straight down the ground and over the Bull Block. That is a massive six, easily over 100 metres.

  • Lefty on January 22, 2009, 5:42 GMT

    haha Nick, we used to have a rule like that. too far and your out, keyword: control :D

  • Stephen on January 22, 2009, 2:57 GMT

    Saw Brett Lee hit Fidel Edwards out of the Gabba once with a monstrous slog once, during one of the Windies' more recent tours...

  • Nick on January 22, 2009, 2:43 GMT

    surely several of Astle's 6s in his 222 were well over the 100m mark? and my 6 2 weekends ago at my mates backyard was at least 24m, one of the biggest hits seen at his house, but also resulted in my dismissal.

  • Dave on January 22, 2009, 2:23 GMT

    I think the Mark Waugh shot at the WACA that landed on top of the Lillee-Marsh stand would have to go close. The distance would be reduced coz it ended up on the roof but still...

  • Pete on January 22, 2009, 1:49 GMT

    Corey Anderson from Canterbury. Easy.

  • Marcus on January 21, 2009, 23:28 GMT

    Re. Bolton vs. Stone, I think the defendant was found not liable because hits like that only rarely happened, and the club had put up a fence anyway.

    Do those hits that have been measured include only shots that have hit the ground? Because Mark Waugh's blow off Vettori landed onto the rook of the Lille-Marsh stand, and considering the size of the outfield at the WACA and the height of the stand, I have to think that if that ball had landed, it would have been at least as big as any of Morkel's, Singh's, Misbah's or Taylor's.

    I also remember Tom Moody hitting some monsters at one of the grounds in Asia- I think one of them wen out of the ground.

  • Tumo on January 21, 2009, 22:49 GMT

    Ten Cents, in the Bolton v Stone case, it went just out of the ground, about 85m-ish. we studied it in a2 law last year. might effort though, knocked her clean out!

  • Andrew McLean on January 21, 2009, 21:32 GMT

    Ross Taylor is rumoured to have put one on the roof of the RA Vance stand at the Basin. Assuming it's true Paul, could you send one of the Karori Beige crew down there to work out the distance?

  • Bonzo Dog on January 21, 2009, 21:31 GMT

    Didn't the great Sir Vivian Richards blast a Willie Watson delevery out of the Mt Eden postal zone in a 1980s tour game (WI vs the Aucks) at the Eden Park Outer Oval? I remember hearing it on the radio when I was a young fella and the comentators went nuts (it may have been Allan Mac). I love stuff like that.

    When I played a bit of club cricket in Yorkshire I was at fine leg when this west indian chap in the opposition smashed the two biggest sixes I have ever seen....over my head. I swear that they were still going up when they cleared the boundry and the subsequent row of well aged trees. Magic stuff.

  • Brodie on January 21, 2009, 20:31 GMT

    Mike Hussey hit the roof at the telstra dome... but Cairns vs Tuffnell at trentbridge was HUGE even alec stewart was impressed with it, as you can hear over the stump microphone

  • Hari on January 21, 2009, 20:22 GMT

    No offense to people coming up with their own version of their favorite hits. :) Mine would be Chris Cairns smashing the winning hit into the trees outside the stadium off Ntini in the 4th ODI of 2004 series at Dunedin.

  • Hari on January 21, 2009, 20:13 GMT

    In this age of snickos, speedometers and hot spots, I don't think it'll be too difficult to measure the distance the ball travels from the bat based on its impact. Agreed, its nice to have everyone's opinions on what they feel the biggest hit was. People will invariably resort to their favorite hits from players they have known. But, its just too subjective and there'll be no comparative standards to measure them. It'll really be good if such a technology is available to TV viewers. :) It would atleast give us something good to fight about :) The television commentators might enjoy it too.. :)

  • SurgeNZ on January 21, 2009, 19:55 GMT

    I can recall Mark Waugh putting one of the Windians up a couple of levels (ie: a loooong way) at the 'G' when he got that (then) record score in '01... also saw Richard Reid put one over the Basin scoreboard and (well) up Adelaide Rd back in the day when he and a certain M Crowe were opening for us in the Shell Cup... might have been off Murphy Sua (???). The hardest hit I think I've ever seen was Jayasuriya at the Gabba hitting G McGrath with a six that went about ten rows back but barely seemed to get a metre off the ground the whole way! And yes Hari, I know that isn't 'physically' possible, but... lol

  • Squib on January 21, 2009, 19:21 GMT

    Wow Hari - what a terrific insight. You really entered into the spirit of the discussion. I think we all know that it is speculative but just let yourself take a risk for once without getting bogged down in a GPS/physics discussion. Lighten up! For mine, wasn't there one that hit the roof of the Telstra Dome?

  • Hari on January 21, 2009, 19:06 GMT

    There are so many big hits that one really cannot measure the distance of. For example, the one by Cairns into the Car park at Nairobi Gymkhana off Kumble (ICC Champions Trophy - 2000) or for that matter, any of the hits which travel out of the stadium. Its really impossible to say unless there is some way of measuring the distance the ball travels from the bat, taking into account the velocity of the ball, the swing of the bat and rest of the physics into account. That would give us a far accurate picture.

  • dan b on January 21, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    I can't say for sure how far it went, but Gayle's strike to midwicket off of Gillespie in Napier that went into the adjoining neighborhood was pretty well beasted. He hit some sixes during this tour that looked like they were never coming down.

  • Andrew File on January 21, 2009, 15:36 GMT

    I seem to remember a hit in the Australian Domestic Twenty20 competition at I think the WACA when a player hooked a ball out of the ground onto the Golf Course, and the fielding Captain said it was bigger than any Adam Gilchrist has hit. It's on youtube somwhere

  • Krishan on January 21, 2009, 12:17 GMT

    I just saw the video of Afridi's hit and I must say I havent seen anything bigger then this one

  • Lefty on January 21, 2009, 10:49 GMT

    surely Gayle must feature in group somewhere.. possibly even our own Jacob Oram.

  • Beige HQ on January 21, 2009, 10:09 GMT

    1. Afridi 6 @ WACA video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EsRRjHgLc8

    2. Stone v Bolton - magnificent memory to recall that from law school or wherever you stumbled upon it...http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1951/2.html: "The distance from the striker to the fence is about 78 yards not 90 yards as the learned judge states, and to the place where the Plaintiff was hit, just under 100 yards."

  • Ten Cents on January 21, 2009, 9:45 GMT

    That shot by Afridi at the Waca was mighty, does anyone have a rough idea how long it was?

    Secondly, I thought the old negligence case of Bolton v Stone centred around a 100m+ hit of a cricket ball onto a neighboring street that was said to happen every other season or so, ie regularly?

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  • Ten Cents on January 21, 2009, 9:45 GMT

    That shot by Afridi at the Waca was mighty, does anyone have a rough idea how long it was?

    Secondly, I thought the old negligence case of Bolton v Stone centred around a 100m+ hit of a cricket ball onto a neighboring street that was said to happen every other season or so, ie regularly?

  • Beige HQ on January 21, 2009, 10:09 GMT

    1. Afridi 6 @ WACA video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EsRRjHgLc8

    2. Stone v Bolton - magnificent memory to recall that from law school or wherever you stumbled upon it...http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1951/2.html: "The distance from the striker to the fence is about 78 yards not 90 yards as the learned judge states, and to the place where the Plaintiff was hit, just under 100 yards."

  • Lefty on January 21, 2009, 10:49 GMT

    surely Gayle must feature in group somewhere.. possibly even our own Jacob Oram.

  • Krishan on January 21, 2009, 12:17 GMT

    I just saw the video of Afridi's hit and I must say I havent seen anything bigger then this one

  • Andrew File on January 21, 2009, 15:36 GMT

    I seem to remember a hit in the Australian Domestic Twenty20 competition at I think the WACA when a player hooked a ball out of the ground onto the Golf Course, and the fielding Captain said it was bigger than any Adam Gilchrist has hit. It's on youtube somwhere

  • dan b on January 21, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    I can't say for sure how far it went, but Gayle's strike to midwicket off of Gillespie in Napier that went into the adjoining neighborhood was pretty well beasted. He hit some sixes during this tour that looked like they were never coming down.

  • Hari on January 21, 2009, 19:06 GMT

    There are so many big hits that one really cannot measure the distance of. For example, the one by Cairns into the Car park at Nairobi Gymkhana off Kumble (ICC Champions Trophy - 2000) or for that matter, any of the hits which travel out of the stadium. Its really impossible to say unless there is some way of measuring the distance the ball travels from the bat, taking into account the velocity of the ball, the swing of the bat and rest of the physics into account. That would give us a far accurate picture.

  • Squib on January 21, 2009, 19:21 GMT

    Wow Hari - what a terrific insight. You really entered into the spirit of the discussion. I think we all know that it is speculative but just let yourself take a risk for once without getting bogged down in a GPS/physics discussion. Lighten up! For mine, wasn't there one that hit the roof of the Telstra Dome?

  • SurgeNZ on January 21, 2009, 19:55 GMT

    I can recall Mark Waugh putting one of the Windians up a couple of levels (ie: a loooong way) at the 'G' when he got that (then) record score in '01... also saw Richard Reid put one over the Basin scoreboard and (well) up Adelaide Rd back in the day when he and a certain M Crowe were opening for us in the Shell Cup... might have been off Murphy Sua (???). The hardest hit I think I've ever seen was Jayasuriya at the Gabba hitting G McGrath with a six that went about ten rows back but barely seemed to get a metre off the ground the whole way! And yes Hari, I know that isn't 'physically' possible, but... lol

  • Hari on January 21, 2009, 20:13 GMT

    In this age of snickos, speedometers and hot spots, I don't think it'll be too difficult to measure the distance the ball travels from the bat based on its impact. Agreed, its nice to have everyone's opinions on what they feel the biggest hit was. People will invariably resort to their favorite hits from players they have known. But, its just too subjective and there'll be no comparative standards to measure them. It'll really be good if such a technology is available to TV viewers. :) It would atleast give us something good to fight about :) The television commentators might enjoy it too.. :)