Sir Gary Sobers hit six sixes for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan at St Helen’s on Saturday 31 August 1968. Forty years on, his team mates spoke exclusively to Covered, the Nottinghamshire CCC magazine.
With the benefit of hindsight, Malcolm Nash would probably concede that he could have picked a better opponent for his early experiments with spin bowling.
The Glamorgan seamer was determined to add another string to his bow but his decision looked increasingly unwise as Sobers arrowed all six deliveries beyond the boundary rope.
Nash had already claimed the wickets of Brian Bolus, Graham Frost, Mike Smedley and Derryck Murray and buoyed by his success in the opening exchanges, decided to try an over of spin with Sobers at the crease.
‘The captain asked me if I fancied having a go at bowling some slow-left armers,’ said Nash, now a good friend and regular opponent of Sobers on the golf course.
'Sobers came along and quickly ended my slow-bowling career. It was a pretty short experiment. I could have bowled wide to try to stop him from scoring but that wasn't what I was all about.’
Notts went on to win the game by 156 runs, and as middle order batsman John Parkin recalls, Sobers was keen to increase the rate in readiness for a declaration.
‘I went in before him because he wasn’t ready to bat,” said Parkin, who scored 15 not out in the first innings.
‘I spent the over in which he hit the six sixes just waiting, ready to run. When he came to the middle he said to me ‘let’s have a quick ten minutes’ so I knew he was going to be looking for boundaries but I was keen to get on strike.
‘It didn’t really register with me that he’d hit five consecutive sixes and so when he hit the sixth and I saw him walk down the wicket and take the applause I was quite surprised.
‘The spectators went mad but I was always a shy lad and struggled to make my presence felt and always preferred to stand back and let others take applause.
‘Gary always made the point that he worked between half eleven and half six and outside of that he was always very relaxed.
‘People will always talk about Gunn and Hardstaff but for me, Sobers was the best player ever to play for Nottinghamshire. He’s certainly the best cricketer that I saw during my career.
‘Even when he was playing against someone with the pace of Dennis Lillee, he just waited and waited before playing his stroke. He had fantastic natural talent and I just loved to stand and watch him from the other end.’
Batsman Graham Frost made a first innings 50 before watching Sobers help Notts to 394-5 declared.
‘I batted at number three and finished my innings and went for a walk around the ground and there was a lot of excitement as the over went on,’ said Frost.
‘I walked to the back of the stand and looked down from the top tier as Gary hit the dubious fifth six. He was caught but the fielder took it over the rope and he hit the sixth one down Main Street towards Swansea.
‘He was a true gentleman. I was very fortunate to have the chance to play with him at Notts.’
Former Notts captain Mike Smedley has similar recollections.
‘Gary had a Jag but if we was picking me up in the rain, he’d always make the point of reversing up my drive so that I could get straight into the car from the back door of the house. He’d do anything for anyone and although he never bragged, he was immensely proud of his achievements in cricket.
‘He would always raise his game against West Indians and I remember him going ballistic when we dropped Kanhai and Ibadulla in a game against Warwickshire. We had the chance to remove them both within an hour of each other but we missed our chances and had to wait another day for our next wicket.
‘He would see edges off his bowling very early and shout ‘now’ and that seemed to be the cue for fielders to tense up. I’m sure that’s why a lot of slip catches were dropped off Gary’s bowling.
‘Malcolm Nash wasn’t bitter at all about the six sixes and I think that he was pleased that he’d made it into the record books and would be forever associated with a major event in cricket history.’
Joking in the dressing room afterwards, Nash told his team mates that he would benefit from the infamy.
‘I’ll make a fortune out of it,’ he said.
‘They’ll make a movie.’
‘What will it be called?’ came the reply, ‘Gone With The Wind?’
This article was featured in COVERED, the official magazine of Nottinghamshire CCC, which is available free to members. To become a member click here.