Six balls, six sixes, one fascinating book
Grahame Lloyd tells, grippingly, the story of one of the most celebrated overs in cricket
One book on six balls: that is some achievement, not least because the events of that over are familiar to most followers of cricket. Forty years ago Garry Sobers struck Malcolm Nash, then in the early stages of his career with Glamorgan, for 36 runs "all the way to Swansea" as Wilf Wooller put it in his television commentary. This is one of the most celebrated of sporting events, heightened by the fact that the game's greatest-ever player brought it off.
So Grahame Lloyd's task was to provide fresh detail, and a seasoned perspective. He has done so by talking to every living person who was involved on that late summer's day in 1968. Who, for example, remembers the name of the non-striker and what became of him? John Parkin was longing to be on strike. When he gave up the game, after a modest career, to become a bricklayer, he knew that he, like the bowler, would be for ever defined by that over. He recalls Nash muttering to himself: "Where do I bowl the next ball? Do I put it up there or bowl a little quicker?"
Don Shepherd, fielding at short third man, is too kind to be critical, but even he, in subsequent seasons, would ask Nash amid bar-room pleasantry how on earth he allowed himself to be hit for six sixes in succession. Shepherd would have bowled wider of the stumps, but Nash's self-belief was such that he believed he could dismiss Sobers off any of those six balls - as indeed he nearly did when Roger Davis dropped a mis-hit drive while tumbling over the boundary. It is fascinating stuff, which poor Nash has put up with for years. But he and Sobers became good friends.
Six of the Best: Cricket's Most Famous Over
by Grahame Lloyd
This review was first published in the November 2008 issue of the Wisden Cricketer. Subscribe here