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May 30, 1977. Rohan Kanhai had the oddest experience of being credited with eight runs from one ball – without overthrows. Arunabha Sengupta narrates how the accurate throw actually resulted in giving away five additional runs.
During his glittering days of international cricket, Rohan Kanhai played many a scintillating stroke — some of them far beyond the scope of the most liberal cricketing syllabus. His falling sweep has not been repeated, with either the finesse or success, even in these days of innovation brought about by instant cricket.
However, it was after he had bid adieu to Test cricket and had made his final grey-headed bow with a fifty in the first World Cup final that he managed the peculiarity of getting eight runs off a single stroke.
1977 was the maestro’s benefit season for Warwickshire, a year that ultimately raised £11,500. At Edgbaston, the veteran Guyanese batsman came in on the second afternoon with his side cruising at 167 for three in response to Northamptonshire’s 254. He started to strike the ball with the same ethereal elegance of his heyday and enjoyed yet another fruitful partnership with Dennis Amiss.
Amiss departed with the score on 221, after having notched up another of his truckload of centuries. Wicketkeeper Geoff Humpage walked in and runs proceeded to come at an impressive rate.
It was at this juncture that Peter Wiley sent down an off-break and Kanhai delicately glanced it fine. George Sharp, doing duty behind the wickets, took off his left glove, threw it on the ground and sprinted after the ball, while David Steele from close to the wicket moved in to receive the throw. The chase was long and the batsman had ample time to run three before Sharp managed to get to the ball and send in his left-handed return. Steele collected it all right, but when the throw landed it did so with a muffled thud. For some reason, presumably light-hearted, the gutsy bespectacled cricketer had slipped on the discarded glove of Sharp and had used it to pouch the throw.
Humpage, who had reached the striker’s end, had a laugh, but at square-leg the Australian umpire Tom Brooks was having none of it. Five penalty runs were added to the three runs, and all of it was credited to Kanhai. The batsman did not complain.
Kanhai duly went on to score an unbeaten 125, the 85th and penultimate of his collection of centuries. Warwickshire won the match by an innings.
Northamptonshire 254 (Geoff Cook 56, George Sharp 43; Steve Rouse 4 for 40) and 176 (David Brown 5 for 43) lost to Warwickshire 451 for 7 inn closed (Dennis Amiss 120, Rohan Kanhai 125*, Geoff Humpage 64, Eddie Hemmings 44 retd.) by an innings and 21 runs.
(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)
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