Free To Enter: Sir Garry Sobers Signed Ball
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A cricketing genius, Garry Sobers excelled at all aspects of the game, and few would argue his claim as the finest all round player in modern cricket. His exceptional Test batting average tells little about the manner in which he made the runs, his elegant yet powerful style marked by all the shots, but memorably his off-side play. As a batsman he was great, as a bowler, merely superb, but would have made the West Indies side as a bowler alone. He was remarkably versatile with the ball, bowling two styles of spin – left-arm orthodox and wrist spin, but was also a fine fast-medium opening bowler. His catching close to the wicket may have been equalled but never surpassed, and he was a brilliant fielder anywhere. He was an enterprising captain – at times maybe too enterprising, as when a generous declaration allowed England to win a decisive match at Port-of-Spain. Born with an extra finger on each hand (removed at birth), Sobers excelled at most athletic activities, playing golf, soccer and basketball for Barbados, and made his first class debut at the age of 16, appearing in Tests a year later. He was played initially mostly as a bowler, but four years later set the Test record for an individual batsman with a mammoth 365 against Pakistan. His achievements are numerous – including the six consecutive sixes hit off an over from the unfortunate Malcolm Nash, a superb innings of 254 for the Rest of the World against Australia in 1971 that earned the praise of Don Bradman, and much more. Like many West Indians, he plied his trade abroad, playing for Nottinghamshire, and South Australia. He was knighted for his services to cricket in 1975.