31st August 1968 was the day when Sir Garfield Sobers did the unthinkable. Till then the highest score in an over in a first-class match was 32 by Clive Inman for Leicestershire against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1965. But Sobers went ahead and completed the full set of six sixes and scored 36 runs in an over from Malcolm Nash.
Sobers was leading Nottinghamshire and took his team to Swansea to meet Glamorgan at St. Helena’s. Both the teams were near the top of the table and Nottinghamshire required a win. Sobers won the toss and decided to bat and they reached 308/5 when Sobers came out to bat looking for some quick runs before a declaration.
Malcolm Nash was a left-arm seam bowler who already had four wickets. When Sobers started with an attacking mood he thought bowling with a slightly different action might be helpful and hence tried bowling left-arm spin. By then Sobers was set and opened up in his over.
The first two balls went above the mid-wicket boundary. The third one was hit by Sobers over long-on with enormous power. The fourth ball went over backward square leg. There was confusion on the fifth ball as Sobers hit the ball straight over long-off and Roger Davis took the catch but fell on the boundary rope in the process. People were not sure of the outcome and the umpires finally decided that it was a six. The crowds were in ecstatic but the Glamorgan players were not so. Their captain Tony Lewis sent all the fielders in the boundary but Sobers could still hit the final ball over the mid-wicket boundary. The ball went out of the ground and went towards King Edward Rode. It was returned by a schoolboy next day.
It was a great achievement by the master all-rounder who got all the praise. Nash, on the other hand, was remembered for all the wrong reasons despite having a long and successful career.
It took 16 years for a certain Ravi Shastri to match the record during a Ranji Trophy match against Baroda off the bowling of Tilak Raj. In international cricket, only two instances of six sixes in an over came in 2007. One was during the 50 over World cup, Herschelle Gibbs against Dan van Bunge of Netherlands. The other more celebrated one was Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes off Stuart Broad during the inaugural World T20.