Close encounters of the fearless kind!

When one hears the name of Brian Close, the adjectives that come to mind are “fearlessness” and “guts”. Close’s mental strength is legendary.

Nothing spoke for his courage better than when he picked to take on the West Indians pace battery of Michael Holding, Andy Roberts and Wayne Daniel —at age 45! The West Indians quick, lethal and in the prime, let loose a deadly fusillade, but Close stood in the middle like rock, his bald head even without a cap! He took blow after blow on his body of the pacemen, but remained unfazed. His body was black and blue, but fear and pain seemed alien to him; he did not show any indication of pain on being hit.

Hampshire’s Danny Livingstone once knocked Close off his feet with a pull shot, but Close shooed away the close-in fielders with an angry wave.

In fact, the title of his autobiography is, “I don’t bruise easily.”

If anybody thinks this is journalistic exaggeration that is scripting Urban Legends, take a look at the above photo of 45-year-old Close from the 1976 series against the West Indies: Gordon Greenidge, one of the most powerful hitters of the cricket ball, has pivoted himself and executed John Snow for a six. Notice Close: the man’s bald head is unprotected. Even more staggering is the fact that he not taking evasive action! Unflinching, as always.