Mahinda Wijesinghe, in the Sunday Island, 10 April 2016
The entire cricket world was stunned when West Indian all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite brought about a dramatic win in the recently concluded World T20 tournament by clubbing four successive sixers off the bowling of England’s paceman Ben Stokes in the final over of the game. Needing 19 runs, Brathwaite hit the first three deliveries over the line and leveled the scores. Most thought a simple single would now be the answer to victory. Not Brathwaite, the next also went soaring for the fourth successive six and all hell broke loose!
Carlos Brathwaite Kapil Dev–www.liveindia.com
Remember, all this time the batsman in form, Marlon Samuels (85*), was at the non-striker’s end watching this breathtaking spectacle by Brathwaite unfolding at the other end. No wonder Brathwaite was bought for a whopping Rs 4.2 crores by Delhi Daredevils against his base price of Rs 30 lakhs for the next IPL!
It is no surprise that at the end of the tournament West Indies topped the six-hitting team with 43 sixers bringing memories of the former outstanding West Indian batsmen such as the three W’s, Viv Richards, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd to name just a few of their typical ‘greats’.
From T20 cricket let’s turn our attention to Test cricket. This was the occasion when India played England at Lord’s in the first Test of the 1990 series. The home team amassed 653/4 declared with the main contributors being Gooch (333), Lamb (139) and Robin Smith (100) which meant the first task the Indians had to achieve was to save the follow-on by scoring 454 runs. Despite hundreds by skipper Azharuddin (121) and Shastri (100), the tourists were perilously placed at 430/9 requiring 24 runs to avert the follow-on with Kapil Dev (53*) on strike and No.11, Hirwani (0*), and not having much pretensions as a batsman at the other end. Probably Kapil was well aware of this situation.
Off- spinner Eddie Hemmings began this momentous over to Kapil. The first two deliveries were respectfully played down. The next four went flying over the line and the target of 24 runs was achieved. The very first ball of the next over – by Fraser – had Hirwani lbw, proving Kapil’s assessment of Hirwani’s batting ability! Though England was not able to send India for a follow-on the tourists were eventually trounced by 247 runs.
So the feat of hitting four successive sixers, first in a Test match and next in a T20 World Cup final, was achieved on both occasions against England.
NB: before the over commenced, Samuels went to Brathwaite and told him that Stokes was liable to bowl some full tosses. Smack On!! … so Carlos smacked