Yes, that was more or less what poor Peter Green had to encounter. Photo courtesy: Suvajit Mustafi
Yes, that was more or less what poor Peter Green had to encounter. Photo courtesy: Suvajit Mustafi

There have been many big hits in the history of cricket. However, seldom has a bowler been embarrassed in the way Peter Green was during the Walsden vs Rochdale match in the Central Lancashire League in the late 1960s. Arunabha Sengupta writes about the incident.

Cricket can be an embarrassing game sometimes.

And so it was for Peter Green, the Walsden slow-medium bowler, as he trundled in to send down his offerings to the seasoned Rochdale batsman Wilson Hartley.

It was a home game for Walsden in the Central Lancashire League, and one would have expected Green to make full use of the familiar conditions. But, Hartley was an experienced batsman at this level, he was in prime form and the pitch was placid … at least Green claimed so, to anyone who cared to hear.

It was a loose ball that Green sent down, and Hartley latched on to it, pulling it with a mighty swing, sending it screaming over square leg. It soared in the air, across the Walsden Cricket and Bowling Club turf, sailing parallel to the Rochdale Road that ran behind the ground. It travelled way out of the ground and sailed over nearby houses before smashing through the upper window of one of the houses in the nearby Strines Street.

Well, balls smashing windows have had a long association with cricket of every kind. From merely disgruntled residents to full-fledged lawsuits, there have always been every kind of reaction to well struck sixes.

However, in this case the situation was unique.

Because the window was of a bedroom, and the ball, after its long and spectacular journey, came to rest on a pillow on the bed. And it was discovered that the bed, and thereby the pillow, belonged to that self-same Peter Green who had sent down the delivery.

Seldom has a bowler been embarrassed this way.

One wonders if Javed Miandad knew of the incident. One would be tempted to wager that he did not and his later idea of ribbing Dilip Doshi was a product of his own fertile brain. But the Pakistani maestro taunted the soft-spoken Indian left-arm spinner in a similar way. With Doshi bowling a tidy spell to him, Miandad kept asking him for the number of his hotel room. When an irate Doshi asked him why he wanted this weird bit of information, the prankster Miandad replied that he wanted to hit a six into his hotel room.

The caveat was that in the Doshi-Miandad case the hotel was on the other side of the town. And of course the threat of Miandad did not materialise.

Thus, the Hartley-Green incident perhaps remains the most embarrassing turn of events for a bowler.