England v India, World Twenty20, Durban, 2007 May 16, 2010

The thirty-sixer

Hugh Chevallier
For those who didn't get to see Sobers' six sixes, Yuvraj provided an encore in Durban

My 15-year-old brother would have told me when it happened, but in 1968 I was only five - and Swansea was a long way from Kent. So I have no actual recall of the great Garry Sobers despatching poor Malcolm Nash for six sixes in an over.

Yet for me, my mates and much of the cricket-obsessed world I was about to inhabit, those six shots became the embodiment of sporting genius. What must it have felt like to be there? To see that last six floating out of the St Helen's ground?

Almost 40 years later and on a balmy South African evening I am in Durban for the first-ever Twenty20 World Cup. But I am also heading for Swansea, because history is about to repeat itself. Another left-hander gifted with a sublime touch is toying with a seamer, lofting him into streets that lead down to the sea. And this time I am there.

This is Yuvraj Singh. To live on in the tournament India, batting first, must beat England, and they're not doing badly. Yuvi comes to the crease at 155 for 3, just 20 balls left in the innings. But 20 is plenty. After six balls he is on 14, whereupon Freddie Flintoff chucks a few words at him.

It is the spur Yuvraj needs, though it is the 21-year-old Stuart Broad who suffers the consequences. The first six is all power and timing, pummelled over midwicket with the pace (if not the pedigree) of a thoroughbred charging into the South African night. The next is an exquisite, wristy pick-up, and the third stroked to long-off.

Thoughts turn to Swansea, though Yuvraj later said the idea of six sixes took hold only once the fourth, a full-toss, was flailed beyond point. The fifth, almost a mishit, towers over square leg.

Broad, his youth and innocence making the slaughter all the more terrible, has switched from over to round the wicket and back, but his role in the drama is of perpetual victim, and all he does is doomed to utter futility. The wait is endless, but eventually the ball describes an elegant arc from Yuvraj's bat and into the stands.

Broad slinks off into the dark - and I ring my brother.

Hugh Chevallier is a deputy editor of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. This article was first published in the Wisden Cricketer

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  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    luck ?? come on.. six sixes is not a joke... i remember this incident.. when yuvraj hit first six, my friend called me and asked "dude.. power cut here.. whatz the score now.." i said.. wow.. yuvraj hit a six now.. that was first one.. OMG!.. its two in a row.. WT* three in a row.. my friend was smiling @ the other side, and even wondered i was lying.. hey.. its four in a row man.. not much reaction for five.. becoz we all waiting for that 6 in 6.. and it happened.. what a moment...

  • Gobi on May 18, 2010, 1:52 GMT

    lets not talk bout indian cricket for a while shall we. this article came on in the most inappropriate time,

  • shafeen on May 17, 2010, 23:35 GMT

    don't understand the hate here - the article is about one specific instance, not Yuvraj's life story. And it was an amazing instance in cricket history.

    for the record, this is the FIRST and ONLY time that any player has hit six sixes off of a pace bowler (sobers, shastri and gibbs all did it against spinners).

    not that hitting spinners for 6 6s is easy (obviously it isn't) - but i would have said it was IMPOSSIBLE to do so against a pace bowler.

    Great moment, and deserves the article.

  • Anay on May 17, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    ROFL reading some of these comments(?) How the hell can a player just be lucky and hit six sixes?Shut it Yuvi.You are a class limited overs player.Few failures should not bother you,but do it again what you have always done.SHUT YOUR CRITICS UP AND LET THE BAT DO THE TALKING. @Dish Nubee Medocre Indian players,dude?Even Sachin earns a lot of money.Jealousy,anyone?

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    Wondered where he disappeared? He disappeared down the same drain where all mediocre Indian players disappear. Indian players make too much money and get too much publicity. India seriously needs a competing sport (such as soccer, hockey) so that cricketers don't feel like gods.

  • Martin on May 17, 2010, 12:56 GMT

    No mention of Herschelle Gibbs, achieving the same feat a few months earlier in the 50 overs World Cup, the first time it was ever achieved in an international match?

  • Niraj on May 17, 2010, 11:12 GMT

    As someone has said that form is temporary but class is permanent, same holds true for yuvraj. He is going through a rough patch but we all know deep inside the heart what a match winner he is. I still have the fresh memories of the match as i was watching this match with my family on TV. Me and my brother didn't move an inch from our place for the entire over and once yuvraj hit the lat six we hugged each other so hard that my wrist watch's belt came apart and my watch went flying like one of the sixes yuvraj hit to Broad :))

  • Mayuresh on May 17, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    @del_ Ohhh really!!!! then why hasn't any other batsman still unable to repeat the feast?

  • Love4 on May 17, 2010, 10:07 GMT

    People admiring someone's batting is no wrong..but the player (Yuvraj here) should not take it for granted that this thing will keep him in the team forever! Why Sachin is still in the team is not only because he is a good player but also a very good human.. In sports, especially cricket attitude matters most, he sets it right before its too late.. And Mr.kr_graj, this is not out of luck or something that someone hits 6 sixes..the touch of game what Yuvi had those days was just too awesome..its a past glory although but needs to be respected!! If its so easy as u said why does tat thing doesn't happen now?? Anywhere in an IPL, WC T20 or any other gully cricket??

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    wondering where has da Yuvi we knew disappeared....

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