Garry Sobers:The man who was born with six fingers in each hands

There is a belief in certain parts of India, and even outside of India, that someone born with six fingers is very fortunate. There is no scientific basis to this belief as there have been people of humble background with a sixth finger in one or both hands.

One famous name in the world of cricket to be born with six fingers on each hand is Garry Sobers, the man widely acknowledged as the greatest all-round cricketer. In the book, “Garry Sobers: My autobiography”, Sobers writes: “There are those who claim I was destined to do well in life because I arrived in this world with two extra fingers, as though there was something mystic about it. I wasn’t bothered. They didn’t inhibit me in any way and I never bothered about them. The condition is rare, but there are people in the Caribbean who have this unusual feature. In fact I met a West Indian quite recently who had an extra finger on each hand, just as I did.

“I didn’t know how it came about and I was neither embarrassed nor excited by it, but the other kids would say that I was so good at cricket because I had six fingers on each hand. Certainly I didn’t think there was anything mystic about it, although some of the crueler boys call me a freak.

“The first extra finger fell off quite early, when I was nine or ten, and I played my first colonial game with 11 fingers! I took the second off when I was 14 or 15 and playing serious cricket. The first of the spare fingers came off with the help of a piece of cat gut wrapped around the base and a sharp tug, something like the old-fashioned way of removing a child’s milk tooth. The other came off with the help of a sharp knife.”