Even in modern limited-overs cricket, notably Twenty20, which is notoriously biased in favour of batsmen, six sixes off an over is hardly an everday occurrence. It is all the more remarkable, then, that the first batsman to achieve the ‘perfect’ score of thirty-six runs off six legal deliveries in first class cricket was West Indian all-rounder Sir Garfield Sobers on August 31, 1968. On that occasion, Sobers was captaining Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan in a County Championship at St. Helen’s, Swansea, and faced fellow all-rounder Malcolm Nash.
Typically, Nash was a medium-pace bowler but, at the time, was experimenting with slow, left-arm spin. Having been hit for four consecutive sixes, Nash gave his fifth delivery ‘a little bit more air’ and, briefly, his tactics appeared to have paid off; Sobers thrashed the ball as far as the long-off boundary, where it was caught by Roger Davis. However, having taken the catch, Davis overbalanced and came down on his backside on the boundary fence. Sobers started to walk, but after a momentary consultation, umpire Eddie Philipson signalled six, and Sobers returned to the crease.
On the final ball of the over, Nash attempted to deceive Sobers by bowling a quicker, seam-up delivery, round the wicket, off a short run-up. However, he only succeeded in producing what was, by his own admission, ‘the worst ball of the day, never mind the over’, which Sobers duly dispatched out of the ground over mid-wicket.