Mission Statement

In 2006, Sobers Holdings Incorporated was founded by Daniel Sobers, Sir Garfield’s son, to manage the GarrySobers Barbados brand. The company’s mission is to create a gateway for all things “Garry Sobers” and to make it possible for his admirers to not only learn more, but have greater access to the man himself. Here also, the youth can learn about Sir Garfield and be inspired and assisted to reach their cricketing potential.

Conditions in which you score matter the most: Sir Garfield

Sun, 2010-05-16 17:00

Lokendra Pratap Sihi: The Telegraph (Calcutta India)
 
Bridgetown: “Great batsmen never play forward, they play back... Survivors are the ones who play forward,” was a stand-out comment from Sir Garfield ‘Garry’ Sobers, during a star-spangled evening to mark the 35th anniversary of his Knighthood.
 
Held at The Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, the function got over after 1 am (Sunday), but few had left during those five memorable hours. There was an hour’s delay, but nobody seemed to mind. It was, possibly, a once in a lifetime evening. Definitely a ‘Knight To Remember’ as it was promoted. It was put together, with loads of class, by Sobers Holdings Inc.
 
Sir Garry’s second son, Daniel, is the company’s CEO and he has ambitious plans to keep his 73-year-old father’s “legacy” alive. In fact, within a year, there will be a signature-clothing line.
 
At the end of the function, as invitees and those who’d bought tickets, prepared to leave, Sir Garry told The Telegraph: “Yes, in a way I do feel emotional... A bit, really... I’m glad you all enjoyed the evening...”
 
Besides cricketing legends, present were ministers of the Barbados government, senators and even Dwight Yorke, the footballer who has worn the Trinidad and Tobago and Manchester United colours.
 
Incidentally, there was an auction as well, with the proceeds going to the Sobers Foundation. A section of the underprivileged stand to benefit.
 
The following are excerpts from what the speakers said (in batting order)
 
REV. WESLEY HALL: I’m talking about the greatest cricketer in the world... He hit six sixes in an over in a three-day (County) game, what odds on his doing so in a T20 match? He’s the only living national hero of Barbados... He doesn’t have a trace of ego in his bones... He’s an alien in a way because we still haven’t been able to understand his greatness as a cricketer... As a captain, Sir Garfield took us to the mountain top and there was a time when he was the world’s most successful... Beating England, Australia and India, the top teams... A master of knowledge, skill and desire... Indeed, he was. Sir Garfield, let us try to be young as we grow old...
SIR VIVIAN RICHARDS: Sir Garfield had a talent like no other and was an inspiration for me... I remember he’d come to Antigua for a match, but that day, he didn’t trouble the scorers... However, just seeing him walk to the wicket was enough for me... Collar, as stiff as possible, up... It was a sight... If somebody didn’t want to imitate one so graceful, then something had to be wrong... He remains the world’s greatest all-rounder... Let’s raise a toast to Sir Garfield...
IAN CHAPPELL: My usual greeting... Sobers you b******! I took his place in the South Australia team when he had to return to the West Indies for a Test series and I’d tell everybody that I’d replaced the world’s greatest cricketer... I was an 18-year-old, then, but he’d treat me as an equal... Sobers wasn’t only a champion cricketer, but a champion bloke... If I had a problem and went to him, he’d say ‘son, get a beer, and we’ll talk about it’... I can’t forget the 254 he scored (in the second innings) for the Rest of World against Australia at the MCG, in 1971-72... I’ll end with what Keith Miller said while watching TV and seeing graphics on the greatest cricketers... When something was shown on Sir Donald Bradman, he jumped up and declared ‘greatest batsman of all time Bradman, greatest cricketer Sobers’...
SUNIL GAVASKAR: If I stand tall before you... Err, let me correct myself, if I stand short before you, it’s all thanks to Sir Garfield... If he hadn’t given me a life very early in my first Test innings (in Port of Spain), then I may not have played another Test... He dropped me later, too, so I’m really thankful... I kept scoring and as Sir Garfield wasn’t getting hundreds in that 1970-71 series, he said he’d touch me to try and get some of my luck. So, he touched my shoulder before the second innings in Georgetown and got an unbeaten 108... Next Test (Bridgetown) and he got 178 not out in the first innings... Next Test (Port of Spain, again), and this was crucial as we had a 1-0 lead and only needed a draw to win the five-match series, he got 132 in the first innings... Before the second, when it became evident Sir Garfield was coming to our dressing room, captain Ajit Wadekar locked me up in the toilet! He made it clear that, under no circumstances, could Sir Garfield touch me before the series’ last innings... He didn’t and, guess what, fell for a duck, bowled first ball by Abid Ali... For me, on that tour, breathing the same air as him meant everything... When I was picked for the Rest of World, in 1971-72, I had to pinch myself to believe that I’d be playing under Sir Garfield... Even then, I couldn’t fully believe it... With the Clive Lloyds also around, it was a cricketing education beyond compare... I could’ve paid a million dollars and still not got it... I recall Sir Garfield asking me to join him at golf one day, during that Rest of World-Australia series... He’d insisted even after my telling him that I knew nothing of golf... Anyway, he took me to the course... I missed the first few times and, then, hit the ball skimming the greens... After a few such hits, Sir Garfield told me ‘son, in this game, you’re allowed to hit the ball in the air!’... That’s when I realised golf could never be for me... I mean, I didn’t want easy centuries... Sir Garfield, you’re the greatest and I pray that you get a century in life, too...
BRIAN LARA: I didn’t know much about Sir Garfield till I was 13 or so and came to Barbados with the Fatima College team to participate in the schoolboys’ tournament named after him... I read a lot before coming and, on meeting him, my first question was ‘did you actually score 365 not out in a Test match?’... Sir Garfield answered ‘yes’ and, since that day, he’s been an inspiration... A great friend... Indeed, a father-figure... I’ll never forget the day when, in Antigua, I broke his record in 1994... I’ll never forget how he came inside the ground and hugged me... I recall there was a time when I wasn’t getting runs and I’d been practising in Kingston... His advice was ‘back and across is fine, but keep your head steady... It’s moving all over the place’. I didn’t forget that. Sir Garfield, I appreciate what you’ve done for me... You’re a genius and a true legend...
 
Now, excerpts from Sir Garry’s address, which was often interrupted by applause and laughter. It was another gem of a performance from the all-time icon...
“It has been a difficult situation, listening to all the accolades... I’ve had a life, so far, of satisfaction and have been able to give something back to cricket... I’m thankful for all the kind words...
 
“Brian Lara... I remember him as a little boy who couldn’t get the ball off the square... But, then, nobody could get him out either... A year later, in the same schoolboys’ tournament, he was a changed batsman... He’d become stronger and had begun to play shots... You’ve expressed a great many sentiments, Brian, my feelings towards you are the same...
 
“Ian Chappell... I recall he’d always be in the South Australia dressing room, after play, listening to what the more experienced would talk about... How do you judge greatness? By the number of runs scored? I’d say it would be the conditions in which the runs have been scored... That matter the most... Greg was obviously stylish, but if there’s one batsman I had to pick, it would always be Ian... He made runs against express bowlers, not the lollipop ones... If I had to invite one Australian to this function, it would have been you. I’m so glad that my son, Daniel, invited you...
 
“Viv Richards... What an excellent batsman... This game is beyond coaches, books... It’s about what the players do... He’d find the gaps... Orthodox cricket is playing like the English, hitting it straight to the fielder at cover... Unorthodox is hitting the same ball, pitched outside off, over mid-wicket... You score with the bat, not pads... Viv did that... “Sunil Gavaskar... He’s talked of the lives I gave him... Well, he must indeed be lucky... He’s been a true great, one beyond (the ordinary)...
 
“Wesley Winfield Hall... My greatest friend... Somebody I could always depend on... Even now, if there’s something, I give him a call... We’ve had a number of innings together (laughs)... [Sir Garry went on to narrate Hall’s picking or not picking of Bhagwat Chandrasekhar’s googly in the 1966-67 Test at the Brabourne.]
 
“People are amazed at some of the things I did... Sometimes, even I’m amazed... There were times when I didn’t sleep for two days and still got runs... I’d be out enjoying myself till 4 am, but I wouldn’t advise that to others... My make-up was such that I couldn’t toss and turn in bed, trying to sleep from the curfew hour of 10.30... In my last Test at Lord’s, I completed a hundred, despite not having slept the night before...”
 
Wow, what an innings!