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Honours Board Legend: Sobers

Sobers at Lord's in 1972
Sobers at Lord's in 1972

After the great Sir Garfield Sobers was a guest in the President's Box at Lord's for the England v Australia ODI, takes a look at his remarkable record in NW8.

It's one of the famous sub-plots at the Home of Cricket; not all of of the game's greatest players have enjoyed success on the field at Lord's.

In recent years, some of the finest cricketers of their - or any - generation, including Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne and Brian Lara, have all retired from Test cricket without etching their name on the famous Honours Boards.

Sobers, though, is different. The man widely regarded as the greatest all-rounder of all time appears on four occasions, three for his magnificent left-handed batting and once with the ball, for both the West Indies and the Rest of the World.

That Rest of the World match, which took place against England in 1970 after South Africa's tour was called off, is not classified as a Test match, but MCC has granted performances during the fixture with a place on the Honours Boards, putting Sobers in the illustrious club of those on both boards.

As if Sobers' average in Tests at Lord's is not enough, standing at an astonishing 95.16 from five matches, that RoW effort takes it to a Bradmanesque 107.71. In actual fact, Sir Don Bradman himself only averaged 78.71 at Lord's from his four Test matches...

163* - 1966

After the touring West Indies, under Sobers' captaincy, had won the first Test by an innings, they came up against an England team in better form - so much so that when the skipper came to the crease in the second innings, his side were under serious pressure at 91/4 - effectively 5/4.

But, after being joined shortly afterwards by his cousin David Holford, they launched a match saving partnership which Wisden described as "wonderful."

The cousins were together for an unbeaten five hours and ten minutes, adding 274 and thwarting England's victory charge. It was a monumental effort, which set up an eventual West Indies series victory - finishing 3-1.

183 & 6/21 - 1970

Three years later and Sobers was back at Lord's in a different guise, once again as skipper but this time leading a barbarian RoW team against Ray Illingworth's England.

The first Test at Lord's turned into a complete romp for Sobers' all-star team - which featured the likes of Clive Lloyd, Graeme Pollock, Rohan Kanhai and Farokh Engineer - inspired completely by their captain.

Wisden's description summed it up: "The match was a personal triumph for the World XI captain, Garry Sobers, who not only wielded his collection of star players into a team straightaway, but set a remarkable personal example. He first destroyed the England batting... (with figures of 20-11-21-6) and followed it with a memorable innings of 183."

That summer was to produce some of the finest cricket England had ever seen, with the RoW winding up 4-1 victors - despite the hosts giving a far better account of themselves in the remaining matches.

150* - 1973

In what was to become the last of his 26 Test centuries in 93 Tests, Sobers played an innings as famous for what took place around it than the knock itself.

By now 37 and considered by most to be past his peak, the Barbadian had originally been left out of the West Indies squad for their three-Test tour.

Despite average form for Nottinghamshire, Sobers was called up to an injury ravaged squad in time to make half-centuries in the first two matches, as well as chipping in with the ball.

His preparations for such a famous innings were hardly textbook though... After a night on the tiles with Lloyd and a former teammate, Sobers ploughed on until 9am before taking a cold shower and arriving at the ground.

Despite missing his first five balls, Sobers steadily played himself in, going on to play a memorable innings - which was only briefly disturbed when he retired on 132 with stomach cramps. A couple of brandy and port's were mixed and Sobers returned to reach his 150, whereupon his captain declared.

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