December 27, 2013

When dad watched Sobers make 252

Watching Garry Sobers' famous innings for the World XI at the MCG was a near-religious experience for one part-time bartender
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Garry Sobers: emptied bars whenever he batted
Garry Sobers: emptied bars whenever he batted © Getty Images

Even though my dad and I rarely agree on anything cricket-related, he is the reason why I love cricket. When I was young he'd bowl at me in the backyard. That lasted as long as his cartilage-less knees did. Then we moved onto cricket theory - watching on TV, or at the ground - and for years after that he coached me in junior cricket.

It wasn't just him. My whole family were cricket fundamentalists. Everyone had an opinion. Everyone played. Very few could bat. Everyone, though, had their own cricketing origin story. My grandpa had jumped the fence at the 'G to see Bradman (only for the little Army Lieutenant of fitness to fail). My cousin Joel and I had backpacked across South Africa to see Australia win a World Cup, and got robbed in Durban along the way. And my father was paid to work in a bar at a match that wasn't even a Test match.

It was 1972 and my dad was 25. He had a flock of hair, a nasty eye condition that kept him out of the army, an outswinger to die for, a suspect goatee, no high-school certificate, and a love of cricket. At school he was the fast-bowling athlete others wanted to be. He was also a rubbish student, so rubbish that he was asked to leave school, which partly explains why on the third day of that January he wasn't relaxing on holidays but was instead working a second job: as a barman at the MCG, on the mezzanine level between the Olympic and Members' stands.

When you ask my dad how it was to be a barman at the MCG, he only ever talks about this one day. It can't, though, have been the very worst job he ever had. It got him free entry into one of the greatest meeting places on earth and, knowing my dad, the odd free drink. On the day my dad talks about, he was pouring the beers at a largely pointless match between the Australians, who were supposed to be playing South Africa before they were turfed out of official cricket, and a chucked-together World XI. How much the spectators cared for this match can be guessed by the gate attendance. On no day did more than 38,000 turn up.

As a cricket fan I find it strange that a contest boasting Gavaskar, two Pollocks, Zaheer, Bedi and Garry Sobers could not pull a bigger crowd. As a Melburnian I get it. This wasn't a Test. It was a hastily added fixture featuring a few bonafide stars and a few John Benaud-types. Melbourne fans like their sport a bit gladiatorial. This was a beer match; it wasn't life or death like MCG-goers want it. For the MCG is nothing if not Melbourne's a***hole. People talk about Melbourne being the smart left-wing city with the cool art and the alternative vibe that makes it oh-so-liveable, but all that shit needs to be blown out somewhere and the 'G is where it happens. The 'G pulsates through big contests, yawns at small ones, rips people to shreds and makes heroes out of those who treat them to a show.

A non-Test match involving such names as Hylton Ackerman and Norman Gifford was never going to bring out that cauldron nature. It was far more likely that only the true cricket fans would turn out. For my dad this was a good thing. The fewer punters there were, the less beer he'd have to serve and the more time he'd have to watch the cricketers he loved.

Coming out to bat at the start of that day, day three, was Zaheer Abbas, and with him was Sunil Gavaskar. My dad always admired batsmen like Gavaskar and Geoff Boycott. When I was growing up, people would ask him if he wanted me to bat like Viv Richards. And instead of grinning and going along with them, he'd say: "No. I want him to put a price on his wicket like Boycott."

So there might have been a bit of sadness in my dad when Gavaskar got out to Terry Jenner, who back then was just another Australian legspinner yet to taste the slammer or fly around the world trying to create another Shane Warne - although maybe my dad enjoyed the wicket anyway, because he also loved spinners and was forever going on about hacks no one had heard of, people like Peter Sleep and Ashley Mallett and Trevor Hohns. When I was nine my dad decided that since I was only average at wicketkeeping and bowled slower than any other kid my age, he'd make me into a spin bowler.

Not long after Gavaskar got out, Graeme Pollock followed. This brought Garry Sobers to the crease.

It was 13 years since Sobers had made his 365, and quite a few years since his six sixes in an over. It is probably harsh to say he was over the hill; even now he'd be a better batsman for the Windies than Kirk Edwards. But he hadn't made a Test century in 23 months. Not that he was under pressure. This was a glorified exhibition match and he was Garry f***** Sobers. He was coming to the end of a special career and giving the 'G one of its last glimpses of his magic.

When I ask my dad who else played in that World XI, he has no idea. He has no real memory of who was on either side. He thinks Dennis Lillee was there for Australia, along with Jenner or maybe Kerry O'Keeffe (actually they both played). He's not sure if Barry Richards was in the World XI or not. Part of this is down to age. My old man is past 60. Partly it's to do with the way Sobers has taken over that game in the memory of anyone who was there.

The first thing my dad tells you about that day is the effect Sobers had on the bar. He emptied it, instantly, the moment he entered the ground. That was not so surprising. This was Sobers, world record-holder, suave strokemaker, ladies man, one of the finest cricketers ever. His charisma alone was probably worth 70 runs. You would leave your beer behind to watch him. Even if you only see a few balls, you've seen Sobers, perhaps for the last time, perhaps not, but why risk it?

Myself and Joel once had a similar experience at the 'G. India were playing on Boxing Day and we hadn't caught up in ages, so we decided to do something we never really did, which was to have a few drinks while the Test was underway. Early on it was easy, as Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer played two of the most defensive innings of all time. Jaffer made 4 off 27. He looked like a man waiting to cross a busy road. Dravid was going through a career-defining crisis - namely, he'd forgotten how to score. His 5 off 66 balls (which oddly led to me getting married) was more painful than it sounds. He was dropped, mocked and booed. It was too much for Joel and me so we kept on drinking.

Dravid was out on lunch, a mercy kill, and we were humming. Three beers in the first session, a couple more that lunch break and we were off to the sort of flyer Rahul Dravid would have paid good money for. There was no doubt this was going to be a huge drinking day.

When I ask my dad who else played in that World XI, he has no idea. He has no real memory of who was on either side. Partly it's to do with the way Sobers has taken over that game in the memory of anyone who was there

After lunch, Sachin changed that. We gave him a standing ovation and I nursed my next beer. Joel drank his straightaway, then didn't ask for another, which wasn't like him. All the talk went to Sachin. Randomly we struck up a conversation with a young Indian father who had brought his children along just so they could say they'd seen Sachin bat. That was the moment things changed for us. We realised that we had to focus on this innings. That this might be the last we'd see.

Sachin started scratchy, not scratchy like Dravid or Jaffer, but nervous-scratchy, as if even he knew he may not play again in Melbourne. He was not exactly out of form, or in any actual danger of being dropped, but his tennis elbow and his struggles to make consistently huge runs had him looking human, and this was the closest his career ever came to fading out. A few brave people were whispering retirement.

Sachin's batting sobered us up. From a medical or blood-alcohol point of view I cannot explain it. But while Sachin was out there I noticed every tug of his pads, every ruffle of his gloves and readjustment of his helmet. Every little thing was important to me. I could not look away. Suddenly he began playing a shot a ball. His innings went from nervous-scratchy to frantic-nervous. Boundaries were coming. He was treating the spinner Brad Hogg like Hogg was something stuck in his teeth. For a second we thought we were about to see a Sachin hundred. Then Stuart Clark bowled and Sachin played on to his stumps. From that moment we got as drunk as we could.

So I understand why, on the day Sobers took hold of the 'G, no one came in asking for a beer - although I always push my dad on this point. Surely, I say, someone came in? I mean, I understand cricket religious reverence, but it's the 'G. Also, this bar was just about right behind the bowler's arm, up a few levels. And it had a balcony. If you are going to see Sobers, why not choose that outstanding location? And when you do push my dad on this, there was, it turns out, the odd person who came into that bar. Not many, though - because the barman was out on the balcony watching the game.

My dad's favourite quote about that day is: "If my boss had come in I would've been in strife, but I would've said sack me, I'm watching the cricket."

I am never sure whether to believe this or not. My old man might have been a big cricket fan but to give up guaranteed income from a second job is not in line with his devout working-class ethic. Still, he believes it, and he was the one watching Sobers and the one telling this story.

When you prod my dad for details of the innings, he finds that hard as well. It's not so much because of his failing memory this time - it's because of how much Sobers gave him. "Forwards, backwards, front foot, back foot, he had every shot in the book, he was just a genius, over the top, along the ground, he just did it. With grace." He is not a man for detail at the best of times, my dad.

Yet when you really drill him on it, especially if he is sober in the retelling, he remembers cover drives off the leggie, and how Sobers played Lillee, the way he dismissed balls on his pads and the way the ground lifted every time he played a shot. Mostly my dad talks about how the bowlers looked like they were coming in to feed Sobers. It didn't matter what they tried, Sobers could see what they were trying to do. He always had the answer before they'd finished working out the question.

In my dad's story, Sobers isn't Sobers but Batman with Superman's powers.

And of course once I've got those few details out of him, I can't help myself: I mention to my dad that some people reckon Jacques Kallis to be the better allrounder. I don't believe it myself. But I know it will get him upset. "Jacques Kallis," says my dad, 'is a great allrounder, but he wouldn't even look up Sobers' bum."

Dad does not tell the story in chronological order. He does not fill in the gaps, such as whether Sobers started off strong and then consolidated before attacking the spinners later, or whether it happened the other way round. He doesn't even distinguish between the two days, the one where Sobers made 139 and the other where he took it to 254 (or 252 as my dad tells it). He explains it more the way a born-again Christian describes their moment of conversion, as if the ground they were playing on was a pitch made of clouds.

It's not anything like a match report, it's all personal, like Sobers was there for his pleasure, all the stars aligned. My dad was at his ground, watching his favourite player, in an empty bar with a balcony just perfect for viewing. That's why the detail is not important: he wants you to know how it feels.

My dad is not a big talker. I know nothing about the moment he met my mother or how he proposed. The story of my birth takes him only a few seconds. If you want to know something about him you have to get him drunk, or wait till he uses the information in a separate argument. Yet this Sobers story has been told to me a hundred times. Occasionally I prompt it, just because it's been a while since I've heard it, and other times he segues into it like he's moving into his comfy clothes before watching the Pies play on a Sunday afternoon. The details can change, depending on how drunk he is or the point he is trying to make, but he always tells it the same way, like he saw God.

The other thing that stays the same is the ending: "I got paid to watch one of the best innings of all time."

And then he goes a bit quiet. You can see he is reliving it. But he looks frustrated, too, that he cannot articulate it better, as if the story is too much for him to ever get out. That's he's let me down by being vague and ethereal. He's wrong, though. I know everything I need to know about that innings simply by looking at his face and listening to his voice.

Recently my dad found footage of the innings. He was desperate to show it to me. I held off for as long as I could, hoping he'd accidentally delete it from his DVR. I didn't want to see it, because I thought it might ruin the memories that I had of him telling it to me. But one day, before I realised, he put it on. Even with the camera set up at one end of the ground, grainy footage, and a lack commenters telling you how special each shot was, Sobers' 254 was one of the most amazing innings to watch. The innings that Bradman said was "probably the greatest exhibition of batting ever seen in Australia". No matter how good he was through mid-on, or slashing through point, or the way he played every single ball from the spinners, it wasn't the innings I remember hearing from my dad. This was Sobers' 254.

The innings I'll always remember was the Sobers' 252, the one that belongs to my dad.

This is an edited extract of an article included in the book Australia: Story of a Cricket Country

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • FAnon on December 29, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    I was at high school in Malaysia in the late 70's and though we play cricket, we arent really much good. One Malaysian made it to test cricket, Lall Singh who played for India in the 40's. However, that innings of Sobers did make it to our TV screens on more than one occassion. Dont remember much almost 40 years on but do remember Sobers straight driving Lillee's yorkers of the back foot. Lillee had terrorised the World XI batsmen in the previous innings taking an 8-fer, but this time round the faster he bowled the quicker the ball came back at him, past him and beyond to the boundary. Also, Sobers played in Malaysia, for a Commonwealth touring team. He was bolwed first ball by a leggie, Alex Delikan, but then took 5 wickets in an over when the Malaysians took their turn at bat. Like Bradman he was one of a kind

  • CoverDrive88 on December 27, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    I saw some of that innings on tv as a kid. It was pretty unbelievable stuff. One cover drive was hit so hard I was in awe, and still am. He didn't just hit it hard, he murdered it, but with finesse, not brute force. And that was in a time when the bats were like toothpicks compared to what's available now, no boundary rope, etc. Give him Watson's bat and you would never see the ball again. I couldn't agree more with your Dad on Kallis. Someone tweeted the other day that Kallis was the best all-rounder ever and I thought - how ignorant of him to say that, you couldn't possibly have seen Sobers and come out with that. Kallis is really good but ldoesn't match up to Sobers.

  • on December 30, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    It's a silly comparison I think. Yes Sobers played in an era with worse equipment and probably on worse pitches, however he also did not play against greater professionalism and increased use of technology, such as video analysis.

    Both were great players and deserve admiration and respect

  • on December 29, 2013, 4:14 GMT

    I remember an article by Raju Bharatan in "The Illustrated Weekly of India" titled "Best Ever 200 against Australia?". Several innings were compared and the final conclusion was that Greame Pollack's 274 at Durban may be marginally better as it did not have a single chance and Sobers had a life at 139. But as people who witnessed that day say "What an Innings?"

  • on December 28, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    If Test cricket batting achievements were measured by your style of batting or your flamboyance at the crease, then Sobers would clearly be the better all rounder. (Perhaps if scores were awarded by a panel of judges according to their opinion of your style, as in a ballet competition) Unfortunately for Sobers fans, this is Test cricket, not a flamboyance competition.

    Test cricket performance is measured by the actual score you achieve, which is then reflected in Kallis' statistics that rival the statistics of Sobers.

    Therefore, Kallis equals Sobers at Test cricket, but not necessarily at the flamboyance competition that some people are so distracted with. Then again, it could be argued that Kallis was never partaking in this flamboyance competition in the first place, and may well have pulled off all the Sobers shots if that was the aim of the game, but this is not the aim of the game, the aim is to score runs and take wickets, in which Kallis has actually surpassed Sobers

  • gujratwalla on December 28, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    @Clive Allen!It was on the 1966 Lord's Test Match against England that Sobers and Halford put up that match saving partnership.That was the year Sobers was dubbed King Cricket by the pundits...722 runs,20 wickets and 10 catches in that series against England.I was fortunate enough to watch him and to my mind he is to cricket what Muhammad Ali is to boxing.Sheer grace and flowing power.Many people forget he was a superb pace bowler with a beautiful action and good enough to open the bowling.He was a product of his era when the aspiring cricketer was taught more naturally than today with all the protective gadgets etc.Comparing Kallis to him is not fair because Kallis has fulfilled the norms of Todays cricket.I would say both are heroes of their own eras and among the greats of cricket.Sobers had talent and so has Kallis and each has been successful in his own way.

  • on December 28, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    Ha nice article, i can relate to this very well. I have alcoholic dad as well who saw every west indies test match at the Queen Park Oval & Bourda Oval from 1950-2003, until he got fed up watching the poor modern windies team.

    Also a late grandfather who saw every test @ Old Trafford from 1930-1995 (saw Bradman bat) & they way they describe the many great innings/bowling they saw from many great cricketers, is always very vague - but very memorable to listen to indeed.

  • 07sanjeewakaru on December 27, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    I think the only one that can challenge the status of Sobers is Imran Khan when he was captaining Pakistan with bowling average of 20 and batting with 50... "His charisma alone was probably worth 70 runs" Good one Jarrod..Good on your DAD!

  • on December 27, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    Hey guys...the ebst test innings that i can remember was Sobers and his cousin rescuing the West Indies in England in the 70's..that to me prove that he is and will alwys be the ebst allround cricketer ever!! His Cousin Holford was no batsman..i think that is the only test century he has ever made and this was due to GS coaching him from the other end on vertually every pitch he faced! That was a partnership that prove how great a cricker Sobers was and to top it all he declared and gambled that they could win the match and opened the bowling when he had the best fast bowling combo in the game at the time!

  • on December 27, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    My dad keeps talking about what Sobers could do to bowlers today in current playing conditions. He could play on wet wickets and green tops with the same flair with no helmets or any of the modern gladiator stuff cricketers weartoday. I understand he only used a thigh pad very late in his career even though it was available. Forget what he could do with the ball. He could walk into any side/any generation as a batsman at any position . How many modern day batsman can say that.

  • FAnon on December 29, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    I was at high school in Malaysia in the late 70's and though we play cricket, we arent really much good. One Malaysian made it to test cricket, Lall Singh who played for India in the 40's. However, that innings of Sobers did make it to our TV screens on more than one occassion. Dont remember much almost 40 years on but do remember Sobers straight driving Lillee's yorkers of the back foot. Lillee had terrorised the World XI batsmen in the previous innings taking an 8-fer, but this time round the faster he bowled the quicker the ball came back at him, past him and beyond to the boundary. Also, Sobers played in Malaysia, for a Commonwealth touring team. He was bolwed first ball by a leggie, Alex Delikan, but then took 5 wickets in an over when the Malaysians took their turn at bat. Like Bradman he was one of a kind

  • CoverDrive88 on December 27, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    I saw some of that innings on tv as a kid. It was pretty unbelievable stuff. One cover drive was hit so hard I was in awe, and still am. He didn't just hit it hard, he murdered it, but with finesse, not brute force. And that was in a time when the bats were like toothpicks compared to what's available now, no boundary rope, etc. Give him Watson's bat and you would never see the ball again. I couldn't agree more with your Dad on Kallis. Someone tweeted the other day that Kallis was the best all-rounder ever and I thought - how ignorant of him to say that, you couldn't possibly have seen Sobers and come out with that. Kallis is really good but ldoesn't match up to Sobers.

  • on December 30, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    It's a silly comparison I think. Yes Sobers played in an era with worse equipment and probably on worse pitches, however he also did not play against greater professionalism and increased use of technology, such as video analysis.

    Both were great players and deserve admiration and respect

  • on December 29, 2013, 4:14 GMT

    I remember an article by Raju Bharatan in "The Illustrated Weekly of India" titled "Best Ever 200 against Australia?". Several innings were compared and the final conclusion was that Greame Pollack's 274 at Durban may be marginally better as it did not have a single chance and Sobers had a life at 139. But as people who witnessed that day say "What an Innings?"

  • on December 28, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    If Test cricket batting achievements were measured by your style of batting or your flamboyance at the crease, then Sobers would clearly be the better all rounder. (Perhaps if scores were awarded by a panel of judges according to their opinion of your style, as in a ballet competition) Unfortunately for Sobers fans, this is Test cricket, not a flamboyance competition.

    Test cricket performance is measured by the actual score you achieve, which is then reflected in Kallis' statistics that rival the statistics of Sobers.

    Therefore, Kallis equals Sobers at Test cricket, but not necessarily at the flamboyance competition that some people are so distracted with. Then again, it could be argued that Kallis was never partaking in this flamboyance competition in the first place, and may well have pulled off all the Sobers shots if that was the aim of the game, but this is not the aim of the game, the aim is to score runs and take wickets, in which Kallis has actually surpassed Sobers

  • gujratwalla on December 28, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    @Clive Allen!It was on the 1966 Lord's Test Match against England that Sobers and Halford put up that match saving partnership.That was the year Sobers was dubbed King Cricket by the pundits...722 runs,20 wickets and 10 catches in that series against England.I was fortunate enough to watch him and to my mind he is to cricket what Muhammad Ali is to boxing.Sheer grace and flowing power.Many people forget he was a superb pace bowler with a beautiful action and good enough to open the bowling.He was a product of his era when the aspiring cricketer was taught more naturally than today with all the protective gadgets etc.Comparing Kallis to him is not fair because Kallis has fulfilled the norms of Todays cricket.I would say both are heroes of their own eras and among the greats of cricket.Sobers had talent and so has Kallis and each has been successful in his own way.

  • on December 28, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    Ha nice article, i can relate to this very well. I have alcoholic dad as well who saw every west indies test match at the Queen Park Oval & Bourda Oval from 1950-2003, until he got fed up watching the poor modern windies team.

    Also a late grandfather who saw every test @ Old Trafford from 1930-1995 (saw Bradman bat) & they way they describe the many great innings/bowling they saw from many great cricketers, is always very vague - but very memorable to listen to indeed.

  • 07sanjeewakaru on December 27, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    I think the only one that can challenge the status of Sobers is Imran Khan when he was captaining Pakistan with bowling average of 20 and batting with 50... "His charisma alone was probably worth 70 runs" Good one Jarrod..Good on your DAD!

  • on December 27, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    Hey guys...the ebst test innings that i can remember was Sobers and his cousin rescuing the West Indies in England in the 70's..that to me prove that he is and will alwys be the ebst allround cricketer ever!! His Cousin Holford was no batsman..i think that is the only test century he has ever made and this was due to GS coaching him from the other end on vertually every pitch he faced! That was a partnership that prove how great a cricker Sobers was and to top it all he declared and gambled that they could win the match and opened the bowling when he had the best fast bowling combo in the game at the time!

  • on December 27, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    My dad keeps talking about what Sobers could do to bowlers today in current playing conditions. He could play on wet wickets and green tops with the same flair with no helmets or any of the modern gladiator stuff cricketers weartoday. I understand he only used a thigh pad very late in his career even though it was available. Forget what he could do with the ball. He could walk into any side/any generation as a batsman at any position . How many modern day batsman can say that.

  • on December 27, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    Nice story, Kallis is a machine, Sobers was an artist.

  • czar2008 on December 27, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    Wow jarrod. Your dad was indeed a man of few but significant and beautiful words! Nice article. You are a true cricket fan!!

  • on December 27, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    without Peter Pollock's 50 it wouldn't have happened.

  • PACERONE on December 27, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    I once witnessed people leaving a game while Kallis was at the crease.My first sight of Sobers the ground filled up as he was walking out to bat.They must of been waiting outside until he came to bat.The result was Charlie Davis and Sobers both made wonderful centuries.Did anyone ever see Sobers struggling at the crease like other batsmen do from time to time? Bowlers Sobers faced on uncovered wickets..Gupte,Lindwal,Millar,Trueman,Statham,Snow,Jones,Brown,Venkat,Lillee,Thompson,The great Indian spinners Bedi etc Mahmood and the great Pakistani swing bowlers.

  • on December 27, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Yes I remember that Innings and I also saw grainy video of that at Fateh Maidan club in Hyderabad. Garry Sobers never got a chance to play one day cricket and so the cricket fans of my generation and earlier are poorer for that. From what I read of him, he was a man who took charge of the game played aggressively and made significant contributions 365* six 6ers and many others including playing for a very long period in county cricket. And to top that he was captain too. Now Jacque has been magnificent and there are no too ways about it. However, there are not many instances of Jacque captaining, not any instances where Jacque took an innings by its throat and made a violent statement and turned the game around with bat or ball. Jacque is the old man river who keeps on flowing without any floods. Also, history has this habit of always treating the first person to accomplish as an immortal and all others less significant. All said and done I would watch Garry over Jacque any day.

  • on December 27, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Love this. I have similar vague memories of watching (as a schoolboy) Sobers' 183 for the Rest of the World against England at Lord's in 1970 (bowlers helpless, balls flying into the stand). Sobers had already taken 6-20 odd in the England first innings too! That (as I recall) was full, and a good RoW side it was too: B Richards, Barlow, Kallicharran, Lloyd, Peter and Graeme Pollock, Procter, Garth McKenzie and Intikhab in the "squad, as well as Sobers. Somewhere (I think Rob Moody put it on) there is some footage of Graeme Pollock and Sobers batting together at the Oval: probably the 2 best left handed batsmen of all time (and I include Lara).

    Ali Chaudhary: I don't think you can say Sobers or Kallis was/is the greater in terms of statistics (they're both all time greats). But I know who I'd pay to watch, and it isn't Kallis.

  • Nerk on December 27, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    @Ali - Wow, way to bring the mood down. Firstly, this is an article about cricket. It speaks from a passion of the game, so it doesn't matter if this was an international match. Secondly, don't know how you define international, but the Australian team was pretty much their first XI. Would hate to face the club team that opened the batting with Stackpole, had Chappelli at first drop and opened the bowling with Lillee and Massie. Thirdly, Kallis is a great allrounder. He can change a game with his batting or bowling... but Sobers, he could WIN you a game all by himself. Not too many players could do that. So stop being such a drag and enjoy this article for what it is, a piece that articulates what cricket is all about.

  • Ali_Chaudhary on December 27, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    Kallis is way ahead of Sobers. BTW this match you are talking about isnt a international match. It was just like a Club match. In International matches his average was very poor vs australia.

  • Pinarsh255 on December 27, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    It will be as unforgivable a disrespect to say this narration is a cricket article, as it will be to say Kallis is untouchable as an all-rounder. The competition is always for the second spot. Sir Garry, you are beyond numbers.

  • on December 27, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Great article. Sobers was number one always,Sachin had similar effect

  • on December 27, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    Lovely writing. Most of us learn from our fathers and have enthusiasm that outstrips our abilities hugely.

  • on December 26, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    I loved it Jarrod, it touched my heart.

  • swarzi on December 26, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    Sir Don Bradman is always the best batsman of All Time, and Sir Gary Sobers the best cricketer of All Time. Sir Gary is the best cricketer, because he could do 'EVERYTHING IN CRICKET' as good as anyone, except to bat as good as Sir Don. But only Sir Don who batted better than him! The different types of bowlers could bowl more than Gary in their single style, but he was often, just as effective as any of them in any style. Bradman was the very best, not just because of his consistency in scoring 100s; as, even non-batsmen score100s; but his ability to COMPILE HUGE SCORES at will, put him miles above the rest. However, Sobers was considered second to Bradman, because he too compiled awesomely huge scores, though not as consistent. So your dad witnessed one of those huge score occasions. But 40 yrs after Sobers had compiled the biggest score ever, Brian Lara who was not as good as Bradman, but the only one to CHALLENGE him, scored 277 which is said to be the best inngs ever in Aus.

  • abdulqadeer.wi on December 26, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    Brilliant article, Jarrod. You have been hitting the spot recently but this one takes the cake. Congrats! A knighthood for this article.

  • on December 26, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    This is what you call beautiful writing.

  • Ravster_Xi on December 26, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    fabulously drafted article....the passion for the game comes through clearly and possibly is one of the reasons why test cricket is still doing well in australia and england!!

  • Ravster_Xi on December 26, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    fabulously drafted article....the passion for the game comes through clearly and possibly is one of the reasons why test cricket is still doing well in australia and england!!

  • on December 26, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    This is what you call beautiful writing.

  • abdulqadeer.wi on December 26, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    Brilliant article, Jarrod. You have been hitting the spot recently but this one takes the cake. Congrats! A knighthood for this article.

  • swarzi on December 26, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    Sir Don Bradman is always the best batsman of All Time, and Sir Gary Sobers the best cricketer of All Time. Sir Gary is the best cricketer, because he could do 'EVERYTHING IN CRICKET' as good as anyone, except to bat as good as Sir Don. But only Sir Don who batted better than him! The different types of bowlers could bowl more than Gary in their single style, but he was often, just as effective as any of them in any style. Bradman was the very best, not just because of his consistency in scoring 100s; as, even non-batsmen score100s; but his ability to COMPILE HUGE SCORES at will, put him miles above the rest. However, Sobers was considered second to Bradman, because he too compiled awesomely huge scores, though not as consistent. So your dad witnessed one of those huge score occasions. But 40 yrs after Sobers had compiled the biggest score ever, Brian Lara who was not as good as Bradman, but the only one to CHALLENGE him, scored 277 which is said to be the best inngs ever in Aus.

  • on December 26, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    I loved it Jarrod, it touched my heart.

  • on December 27, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    Lovely writing. Most of us learn from our fathers and have enthusiasm that outstrips our abilities hugely.

  • on December 27, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Great article. Sobers was number one always,Sachin had similar effect

  • Pinarsh255 on December 27, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    It will be as unforgivable a disrespect to say this narration is a cricket article, as it will be to say Kallis is untouchable as an all-rounder. The competition is always for the second spot. Sir Garry, you are beyond numbers.

  • Ali_Chaudhary on December 27, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    Kallis is way ahead of Sobers. BTW this match you are talking about isnt a international match. It was just like a Club match. In International matches his average was very poor vs australia.

  • Nerk on December 27, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    @Ali - Wow, way to bring the mood down. Firstly, this is an article about cricket. It speaks from a passion of the game, so it doesn't matter if this was an international match. Secondly, don't know how you define international, but the Australian team was pretty much their first XI. Would hate to face the club team that opened the batting with Stackpole, had Chappelli at first drop and opened the bowling with Lillee and Massie. Thirdly, Kallis is a great allrounder. He can change a game with his batting or bowling... but Sobers, he could WIN you a game all by himself. Not too many players could do that. So stop being such a drag and enjoy this article for what it is, a piece that articulates what cricket is all about.