Home > Features > Moments in history >

Garry Sobers scores a duck and concedes defeat in the final over of his only ODI

Garry Sobers scores a duck and concedes defeat in the final over of his only ODI

Garry Sobers © Getty Images

On September 5, 1973, Garry Sobers played his only One-Day International (ODI) and was sadly dismissed for a duck, before conceding defeat with the ball in the final over. For the world’s greatest all-rounder, it was a forgettable outing, one that he labels ‘regret’ in his cricketing career. Karthik Parimal revisits the fixture at Headingley.
If asked to pick a few cricketers from the bygone era who would have thrived in limited-overs cricket had they an opportunity to play a lot of it, Garry Sobers’s name would have featured unanimously in all the lists. The world’s greatest all-rounder at the time was so entertaining as a batsman, bowler and fielder that despite playing only the longest format of the game for a significant part of his career, there was no doubt in people’s mind the world over that the southpaw was cut out for One-Day cricket or, more recently, Twenty20. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.
The only dig

On this day in 1973, Sobers played his only overs-limit game, a 55-over One-Day International (ODI) against England at Headingley, but the stage failed to bring to fore his dexterity in Tests that had awed many. It was West Indies’ first ODI and hence very few in the squad could nonchalantly adapt to the change. Nonetheless, Sobers’s only outing was forgettable: after facing five balls, he edged the sixth behind to wicketkeeper Bob Taylor off Chris Old and was dismissed for nought.

West Indies could muster just 181 and although they had England on ropes for a brief part of the game, Bob Willis and Derek Underwood steered them across the line, scoring the winning runs off Sobers’s final over. “The second ball was hit straight back over the bowler for two; the next steered to third man for two more and England were home,” noted Wisden. Sobers accounted for the wicket of Old, poetic justice perhaps, but it was to be the only scalp he would show for in the format. He was absent from the second ODI of that series, played at The Oval — a fixture the West Indies won by eight wickets riding on Roy Frederick’s heroics — owing to fatigue from the long tour.

The rise of the one-day game coincided with the fag end of Sobers’s career. He was selected to play in the first World Cup, eventually bagged by the West Indies in 1975, but was soon sidelined with a slight groin strain. In his autobiography, Sobers confesses that he could have carried on despite that niggle, but refrained from bargaining with the powers that be after the commotion that ensued when he toured Australia not a hundred per cent fit, a few months before the tournament. Rohan Kanhai was named Sobers’s replacement and the former played a sturdy role, standing up to the likes of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson to take his side home in the final.

As Sobers assertively states, his game was based on attack whether as a batsman, bowler or captain. The fact that he looked to extract a result from even the most insipid matches — his declaration at Port of Spain springs immediately to mind — provides ample evidence. He played the game so that everyone could enjoy it; not just the players on the field but the spectators as well. “That’s why so many fans turn up to watch one-day cricket — they know they will see attractive cricket,” he further stresses. While that statement emphasises his love for the sport and the attached entertainment, it also underlines one of his deep regrets, that of never having the opportunity to play a lot of one-day cricket.

Would Sobers have had fun playing the abridged format, especially when it’s sans the rigours of Test cricket? “I’m certain that I would have enjoyed playing one-day cricket and I don’t think I would have changed my game. After all, I played in the same way whether it was league, county or Test cricket. I have always tried to play in an attractive manner,” he aptly writes in Garry Sobers: My autobiography.

Watching Sobers rip apart bowling attacks in coloured clothing would have been a sight to savour. Sadly, for the man who amassed 8,032 Test runs, hit six sixes in one over for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan, registered an unbeaten 365 — the highest score at the time in international cricket, one-day cricket’s development was a tad bit late. All the more unfortunate was his dismissal for a duck in the only match of that type. While the English were certainly pleased to see his back, many fans that travelled thousands of miles to watch the maestro bat were, understandably, dejected. The fact that he chose to skip the second ODI only rubbed salt to their wounds.
Brief scores:

West Indies 181 in 54 overs (Rohan Kanhai 55; Derek Underwood 3 for 30, Chris Old 3 for 43) lost to England 182 for 9 in 54.3 overs (Mike Denness 66; Vanburn Holder 2 for 34) by 1 wicket.

(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/karthik_parimal)

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 4, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Leeds

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (19:30 IST)   at Kingstown, St Vincent

More

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014  at Harare

Zimbabwe won by 3 wkts

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Dambulla

SL won by 7 wkts (D/L method)

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Nottingham

India won by 6 wkts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 61 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Photos

Australia vs Zimbabwe, ODI tri-series at Harare

Videos

Misbah disppointed with Pakistan's performance

India vs England Live Cricket score, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Joe Root out for 44

Australia vs South Africa Live Cricket Score, Zimbabwe Tri Series 2014 Match 5 at Harare: Australia set a target of 283

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Key Battles

Ishant Sharma: 10 facts you need to know about the towering Indian paceman

India vs England 4th ODI at Birmingham: England likely XI

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 Australia vs Zimbabwe England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan South Africa Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 Zimbabwe vs Australia

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler aim fightback

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Joe Root dismissed by Suresh Raina

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Eoin Morgan dismissed

BCCI signs five-year deal with MRF Pace Foundation

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Joe Root gets 1,000 ODI runs

N Srinivasan faces a two-month wait as Mudgal commission prepares final report

Norman Gordon passes away at 103

Australia vs South Africa, 4th ODI at Harare: Key Clashes

Tom Groube: First New Zealand-born cricketer to play a Test

India tour of England 2014: Shikhar Dhawan may be an innings away from getting back into form

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

626 Posts | 7 Fans

Videos highlights of Serey Die crying during Ivory Coast's national anthem in FIFA World Cup 2014 match

BJP-RSS shutdown against murder hits Kerala

Mitchell Marsh, Philip Hughes help Australia set a target of 283 against South Africa in 5th ODI

Harshad Arora and Preetika Rao’s Beintehaa shifted to 11 pm!

Invisible Text app can delete message even after it is sent

Happy Birthday Keanu Reeves: Watch top 10 iconic characters of the versatile actor

Xiaomi Redmi 1S: Sold out in seconds, delivered in weeks

Is spotting a pregnancy symptom?

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Latest Ebola News: Japanese researchers develop 30-minute ebola test

Mammootty challenges Shah Rukh Khan, Vijay and Suriya to take up My Tree Challenge!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here