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March 16 down the years

Herschelle the bully

Herschelle Gibbs hits six sixes in a World Cup over

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Herschelle Gibbs launches one of his six sixes off Daan van Bunge
Herschelle Gibbs launches one of his six sixes off Daan van Bunge © AFP
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2007
A World Cup whirlwind in St Kitts, where Herschelle Gibbs became the first batsman to smack six sixes in an over in international cricket. The venue was Warner Park, one of the smallest grounds on the international circuit, and the victim was Netherlands' part-time legspinner Daan van Bunge. It was an unequal struggle. "Daan bowled some good balls and some shit balls," said the Dutch captain, Luuk van Troost, as Gibbs bludgeoned his way to a million-dollar charity pay-out from the tournament sponsors, Johnnie Walker.

2002
Wisden called it the "most glorious failure in the history of Test cricket". New Zealand needed an impossible 550 in a little over two days to beat England in Christchurch. At the end of day four they were 28 for 0. Nathan Astle came to the crease at 119 for 3 and when he was the final wicket to fall, New Zealand had scored 423 runs on the day. Out of those, 222 came off his bat in just 168 balls, breaking Adam Gilchrist's one-month old record for the fastest double-hundred. Astle's came in 153 balls, 59 fewer than what Gilchrist had needed. On the fourth afternoon an injured Chris Cairns joined Astle at the crease with New Zealand 333 for 9. Astle, then at 134, proceeded to smash the England bowlers furiously and briefly raised hopes of an improbable New Zealand win.

2012
After a year-long wait, Sachin Tendulkar finally reached his 100th international hundred - the first player to do so - against Bangladesh in an ODI in Mirpur. India lost the match. Tendulkar called it the toughest of all his centuries because of the immense hype surrounding the milestone. It was his final century in international cricket.

1906
Birth of a triple international and one of the most naturally-gifted sportsmen of all. Maurice Turnbull played cricket for England, and rugby and hockey for Wales in a career cut short by the war - he also held the South Wales Squash Rackets Championship. He batted in a fittingly cavalier manner, often improvising with strokes which, according to Wisden, "did not appeal to the purist, [but] were extremely good value for the ordinary spectator and poison to the bowler". An extremely popular man, Turnbull was killed in action in Normandy in 1944 aged 38.

1974
A world-class Zimbabwean fast bowler is born. Heath Streak wass probably the only one there has ever been, and the paucity of his team's bowling resources made his efforts all the more outstanding. Streak was a muscular, indefatigable seamer, who following the retirement of key players developed his lower-order batting to such an extent that he was regarded as an allrounder in his own right. With a howitzer throw from the boundary, and some gutsy captaincy in a tough period for Zimbabwean cricket, he proved a very useful player indeed, but he missed almost a year after falling out in a major way with Zimbabwe Cricket. He returned to bolster a weakened side in March 2005 but then concentrated more on county cricket and the chances of another comeback for Zimbabwe dwindled. He signed a contract with the ICL in early 2008 and represented Ahmedabad Rockets.

1954
A World Cup-winning coach is born in Colombo. After a modest career that included seven low-key Test appearances for Australia between March and November 1979 in the days of World Series Cricket, Dav Whatmore turned his hand to coaching. He masterminded Sri Lanka's famous World Cup win in 1996, and after a brief spell at Lancashire, went back for a second term. In 2003, he took over as Bangladesh's coach. The team had a few successes under him, including their first series win, a famous one-day victory over Australia in Cardiff, and a place in the 2007 World Cup Super Eights, but he chose to quit the post after the tournament. He served as director of India's National Cricket Academy, and in 2009 went on to coach Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. After two seasons (2010 and 2011) with the franchise, Whatmore took over as the Pakistan national coach, staying in the job for nearly two years.

1959
Remember the curious case of Greg Dyer, who was born today? He was the Australian keeper who won the World Cup at the age of 28 - he caught Mike Gatting after that infamous reverse-sweep, in Calcutta in 1987-88 - but who was finished in first-class cricket a year later. He was ostracised after claiming a controversial catch off New Zealand's Andrew Jones in the Melbourne Test of 1987-88, and was jettisoned soon after. Australia were so keen to get rid of Dyer that they fast-tracked Ian Healy after only six first-class games.

1997
He was better known for his extravagance in the commentary box, his legal problems and his six-hitting exploits as a player, but while Navjot Sidhu merrily mauled language and offspinners, fast bowlers were a different story. Faced with a full West Indian complement (Ambrose, Walsh, Dillon and Rose) in the second Test on a snail-paced pitch in Trinidad in 1997, he set out for the long haul, and made 201 in 673 minutes, the second-slowest double-century in Tests. After that, it wasn't much of a surprise that the game ended in a draw, despite a slightly more palatable first Test hundred from Stuart Williams.

1910
Birth of the only man to play Test cricket for England and India. Iftikhar Ali Khan is better known as the Nawab of Pataudi senior. He was a dashing strokeplayer who lit up Lord's with an unbeaten 231 for Oxford against Cambridge in 1931, which remained the highest score in these contests until Salil Oberoi (247) broke it in 2005. The Nawab's international career encompassed three Tests for England, including a glittering 102 on debut, in Sydney in the first match of the 1932-33 Bodyline series - he was dropped after the second Test, apparently because of his transparent distaste for England's tactics - and three for India after the Second World War, all as captain. His son, the Nawab of Pataudi junior, also captained India. Iftikhar died of a heart attack in New Delhi in 1952, while playing polo, when only 41.

1861
Birth of the man whose entire first-class career consisted of a duck in his only Test. Joseph McMaster made 0 at No. 9 for an under-strength England against South Africa at Cape Town in 1888-89, but he couldn't get on - thanks mainly to Johnny Briggs, who took 15 for 26. In what was their second Test, South Africa were bowled out for 47 and 43, and McMaster never got another go. He died in London in 1929.

2007
The day 22-year-old Manjural Islam met with a fatal road accident. Manjural, who played six Tests and 25 ODIs between 2003-04 and 2005-06, was the youngest Test cricketer to die. He wasn't part of the World Cup squad but it left a deep impact on the members of the side, who went on to upset India the next day and dedicate the win to their colleague.

1920
South African allrounder Percy Mansell, born today, narrowly missed a century on debut in a Test better remembered for Peter May's debut hundred and Eric Rowan's 236 in 1951. Mansell was the last to fall, on 90. It was his highest score of the tour and of his eventual 13 Tests. He did better at home in first-class cricket, becoming only the second allrounder after Bert Vogler to do the 500 runs and 50 wickets double. After retirement, Mansell spent a lot of time playing golf; in 1994 a ball hit his forearm and broke it. It deteriorated his health and he died in 1995.

1969
The birth of Ottis Gibson, an intelligent West Indian bowler capable of genuine pace. He toured England in 1995 and was handed a debut at Lord's but he went on to play only one more Test. He had a chequered first-class career with a number of sides around the world but the highpoint came in 2006 and 2007 with Durham. He finished the 2007 season with a record number of wickets in any season for Durham and was instrumental in their two trophies. He took up coaching soon after his retirement. He was England's bowling coach for three years before being named West Indies coach in January 2010.

Other birthdays
1952 Louise Browne (West Indies)
1986 Joe Denly (England)

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