Sir Garfield Sobers is considered to be the greatest all rounder cricket has ever produced, with a plethora of records under his belt. His beginnings were small, but his efforts were substantial, which were what led a young, poor boy born in the lap of the Carribean Sea to achieving greatness in his cricketing career.
Just five years old when he endured the passing away of his father, Garfield was raised single handedly by his mother, and amongst five other children to feed, times were perilous for the family. With the glistening sand on the coast as their wicket, his brother and him engaged into playing cricket often, and it was quite evident that Garfield had the innate ability to partake and excel in any sport he played.
It was in his teens that Garfield managed to give the world a glimpse of his talent, when he alongside his brother helped their school team win the Inter-school Cricket Championship for three consecutive years. At the age of 16, Garfield made his first class debut for his home team, Barbados. He made an undeniable impact with the ball in his debut, and impressed with the bat in his second match, enough to earn him his international test debut against England at the age of 17.
However, his career came to an unpredictable standstill in the late 1950s. He failed to convert his starts into greater, bigger scores which not only frustrated spectators but himself as well. It was after 1957 that his graph showed a steep climb, and he performed exceedingly well, scoring 2250 runs in 24 tests at a staggering average of 93.75.
A landmark match in his career came in 1958 against Pakistan, where he managed to score his maiden test century, while converting it into a jaw-dropping score of 365. From being the youngest triple centurion till date to scoring the highest maiden test ton to being the first player to convert his test ton into a triple century, Sobers smashed records as well as all criticism that day. Sobers also took 15 wickets in the 1960 – 61 series, which truly established him as an all – rounder.
10 years after the landmark test against Pakistan, Garfield Sobers became the first batsman to hit six sixes in an over in first class cricket, and in all true honesty, this humongous record set by the man himself shouldn’t come as a surprise by now.
Sir Garfield Sobers had a presence on field which was hard to ignore. A towering man at 5 ‘ 11, it was his skills that made him seem even taller on field. With an exceptional batting prowess evidenced by 8032 runs in 93 tests, extraordinary bowling skills proved by 235 test wickets, and lightning quickness on the field with 109 catches, there cannot exist even the slimmest of doubts about his 8 Wisden leading cricketer of the year awards in 13 years, or the Wisden Cricketer of the Century award bestowed upon him in 2000.
Till date, Sir Garfield Sobers is a name celebrated in the cricketing world, and for a man who received truckloads of fame at a young age, his humility is unmissable. Still connected to his humble roots, there is no limit of appreciation that we can have for him, and there is no amount of gratitude that we can show him for his contributions to cricket.