He was also in the public stream on April 17 in Antigua. Gary Sobers himself came down to greet the Prince of Trinidad when Brian Lara made an incredible feat on a sunny day in 1994.
After nearly four decades of unsuccessful attempts, it was impossible for anyone mortal to do what he did on a March afternoon in Sabina Park.
On this day 84 years ago today, Sir Gary Sobers gave birth to an epic innings of unbeaten 365 runs against Pakistan. In the first century, he broke the record for the highest score in Test cricket, which lasted for 36 years.
The Caribbean legend made a prediction about that innings in his 1986 autobiography, Twenty Years at the Top. That seemed to be the case before the advent of Brian Lara. Let’s hear what Sobers thought about the possibility of breaking his own record:
‘I was 21 when I recorded the highest innings of a batsman in a Test innings. On 3 March 1956, I was unbeaten on 375 for Pakistan against the West Indies at Sabina Park.
’30 years have passed, yet no batsman has come within a record 50 runs. Former Australian captain Bobby Simpson came in closest with 311 against England at Old Trafford in 1984.
‘Records are made to be broken, but I don’t think mine will ever be broken. That is to say, the game has changed. In modern times there is so much power now that captains are not interested in batting too much. One-day cricket is giving birth to batsmen who are not very good at playing big innings. Pakistan’s Javed Miandad’s 260 at the Oval against England in 1986 was an exceptional event.
After Lara set a new record in 1994, Sobers congratulated her on the field. Picture taken in the dressing room of West Indies players
After Lara set a new record in 1994, Sobers congratulated her on the field. Picture taken in the dressing room of West Indies playersPhoto: Twitter
‘But there is no real risk of breaking my record. Now there are very few batsmen who have the concentration to score more than 300 runs for 10 hours or more. Geoff Boycott may have that. But he runs slower than Budd. New Zealand’s Martin Croke has been called one of the best young batsmen of today and may have threatened my record, but I haven’t seen him play much.
‘I thought Barry Richards of South Africa could break my record. I played against Nottinghamshire when I was captain of the English County Championship. He used to play in Hampshire. ‘Great’ is a player. The word ‘great’ is used very often. I’ve seen a lot of players use this word with whom the word doesn’t go. David Gower played some good innings early in his career and was immediately called Great.
South African legend Barry Richards
South African legend Barry RichardsPhoto: Twitter
‘Greatness’ has to be achieved for a certain period of time — I would say at least 10 years — and if a player can play well against the best bowlers in the world at this time, then he can really be called great.
Former England opener David Gower
Former England opener David GowerPhoto: Twitter
“No matter how effective it is, I don’t think David Gower has reached that point yet. Greatness in batting does not mean scoring a lot of runs. That means dominating bowling and not just good wickets. A great player will dance a bowler to his liking with his talent. He does something new and plays unconventional shots to invalidate the fielding.
‘Don Bradman did it and he’s one of the best ever. But I don’t think I’ve seen too many great batsmen since I started my career.
Graeme Pollock has averaged 80 runs in just a few Tests. I’ll keep him in the ranks of Barry Richards: a potential great player who couldn’t secure his place because he didn’t play enough Tests. Who knows? If South Africa had not been excluded from the cricketing nations, one of the two might have broken my record.
Legendary Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar
Legendary Indian batsman Sunil GavaskarPhoto: Twitter
‘Sunil Gavaskar has broken many Test batting records. This Indian batsman is undoubtedly a great player. When he announced his retirement in 1986 at the age of 36, he was still scoring Test centuries. His highest run innings is unbeaten 238. And like all great cricketers, Sunny has played against and ruled the world’s top bowlers. He passed even the most difficult exams with a letter mark. All 13 of his Test centuries came against the West Indies. When he made his debut in the West Indies in 1970, I was the captain. He scored 74 runs with four centuries.