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16 Superb Truths You Did Not Know About Gary Sobers

1. Born in Bridgetown, Barbados, Sobers made his first-class debut for the Barbados cricket team at the age of 16 in 1953, and his Test debut for the West Indies the following year.

2. Originally playing mainly as a bowler, he was soon promoted up the batting order.

3. Against Pakistan in 1958, Sobers scored his maiden Test century, progressing to 365 not out and establishing a new record for the highest individual score in an innings, which was not broken until Brian Lara scored 375 in 1994.

4. He was made captain of the West Indies in 1965, a role which he would hold until 1972.

5. He would also captain a Rest of the World XI during their 1970 tour of England.

6. Overall, Sobers played 93 Tests for the West Indies, scoring 8032 runs at an average of 57.78, and taking 235 wickets at an average of 34.03.

7. He has the fourth highest batting average in Test cricket in the list of cricketers with more than 5,000 runs. In his 383 first-class matches, he scored over 28,000 runs and took over 1000 wickets, having spent time with South Australia and Nottinghamshire towards the end of his career.

8. Sobers was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1975 for his services to cricket.

9. From an early age, Sobers demonstrated the talent and ability to play with great skill almost any sport involving a ball, particularly cricket, football and basketball. When he was 13, he was recruited to play for two cricket teams.

10. These were the Kent St Philip club in the Barbados Cricket League .

11. Garnet Ashby, captain of Kent St Philip, told him that this was his opportunity to play cricket with “the big boys”.

12. Sobers gained useful experience by bowling to Wanderers batsmen, including West Indies Test player Denis Atkinson, at practice in the nets and soon developed his great skill as a left arm spin bowler. More importantly for his career, he was observed by Inspector Wilfred Farmer, captain of the Police team in the BCL First Division.

13. He was initially selected as 12th man but then made the team itself when Frank King was forced to withdraw. He therefore made his first-class debut on 31 January 1953, aged only 16.

14. Batting at number nine, he scored 7 not out in his only innings but made an immediate impression as a bowler, taking 4/50 and 3/92.

15. A full year passed before Sobers, now 17, made his second first-class appearance, again playing against a touring team.

16. He batted at number five against Marylebone Cricket Club , scoring 46 and 27; and took two wickets in the match.

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