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Row over Sir Garry’s six-ball

Tony Best

Row over Sir Garry’s six-ball

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Can cricket’s most famous ball be actually a “no-ball”?
It’s a question which Christie’s, the world famous auctioneer in London; Cricket Legends of Barbados and its museum just outside Kensington Oval; Nottinghamshire, the county club in England that Sir Garry Sobers once led; and Malcolm Nash, the 1960s Glamorgan player who bowled the over, are trying to answer now that an international controversy has erupted over the red cherry.
The ball in question was the one which Sir Garry, Barbados’ sole surviving National Hero, hit for six glorious sixes off Nash in an over in a Notts-Glamorgan game in Swansea in 1968. It was a feat that made history and remains part of cricket’s folklore because it was the first time any batsman had struck six sixes in an over in a first class match and added to the legendary accomplishments of cricket’s greatest all-rounder.
But the person who apparently has the answer to the bewildering question is Grahame Lloyd, the author of Six Of The Best, a 40th anniversary celebration of that historic piece of bowling and batting. He is also the writer of a more recent book, Howzat? The Six Sixes Ball Mystery.
After an exhausting 18 months of investigative journalism that stretched from England to India and to Barbados, Lloyd has unearthed strong evidence that the ball which holds pride of place in a Barbados museum is probably an imposter.
What adds to the story about authenticity is that the ball which was sold at a Christie’s auction in 2006 for a staggering BDS$82 409 but was bought last year for BDS$9 508 so that it could find a happy resting place in what Michael Lucas called “it’s rightful home” – meaning the birthplace of Sir Garry – was of a different make than the one used in the over and returned to bowler and later to the batsman.