The bespectacled Eddie Barlow was one of the most popular figures in South African cricket in the 1960s. Due to the ban on South Africa cricket due to their nation’s apartheid policies; his career came to a standstill in 1970. Had his career not coincided with the great Garry Sobers, he mighty well have been regarded as the greatest all-rounder of his time.

 

Due to the ban on apartheid South Africa, there w as no international cricket in the summer of 1970 and a five – match series between England and Rest of the World (ROW) was hurriedly planned. The ROW side was led by the legend ry Sobers. ROW had won the first match at Lord’s, suffered a defeat at Nottingham and then won again in Birmingham. Leading 2-1, they needed a win at Leeds to seal the series. Barlow’s contribution ensured that ROW clinched the thrilling affair at Leeds.

 

Batting first, England were comfortably placed at 209 for four, but Barlow then claimed four wickets from five balls. He dismissed the well-set Keith Fletcher caught behind for 89 and that wicket triggered the collapse. English wicketkeeper Alan Knott was cleaned up for nought , and Chris Old followed him next ball after his off-stump was disturbed. Then came the hat-trick ball and Sobers had deployed nine fielders in catching positions. Don Wilson, the batsman , was caught by his team-mate Mike Denness. How? English skipper Ray Illingworth had allowed Denness to act as a substitute fielder for the touring side. England were bowled out for 222 and Sobers powered ROW to 376 with a brilliant fine hundred.

 

England began well in the second innings as Geoffrey Boycott and Brian Luckhurst had an opening stand of 104. However they too managed 376 and once again it was Barlow who was their demolisher-in-chief. Barlow followed up his seven for 64 with another fifer, this time five for 78. His scalps included the key wickets of Boycott, Luckhurst, Colin Cowdrey, John Snow and Alan Knott.

 

Chasing 223, ROW limped to a two-wicket win. Thanks to the partnership of 115 for the sixth wicket between Sobers and Intikhab Alam. With this win, ROW sealed the series and later won the fifth match at The Oval too. Though these numbers didn’t add to his international stats, Barlow finished the tour with 353 runs at an average of 39.22 and picked up 21 wickets at 18.76.