Garry Sobers’ autobiography reminds us just how wide-ranging were the achievements of this cricketing legend. At the age of 21 he scored 365 not out playing for the West Indies against Pakistan, which remains one of the great totems of sporting achievement–despite finally being surpassed in 1994, after 36 years, and he went on to establish himself as one of the most entertaining and successful all-rounders of all time–a phenomenal left-handed batsman who racked up a Test average approaching 60, in a career that spanned 20 years, and a multi-styled bowler who took over a thousand first-class wickets. Fortunately for British cricket fans, Sir Garry toured extensively as West Indies captain and played a substantial portion of his county-level cricket at Nottinghamshire, where he set another celebrated record–first man to hit six sixes in an over.

The ghost-writer, journalist Bob Harris, has collaborated on several decent sports biographies, and while it’s impossible to be confident about how far the “voice” we are hearing captures the flavour of Sobers’, this is a well-constructed, polished effort–backed up by Bill Frindall’s statistical analysis of the Sobers record.

It’s a book which is very strong on chronicling an extraordinary career and adding a degree of personal insight to the well-documented core material–though not quite in the bare-all category. Those looking for the dirt on Sobers’ fairly well-documented boozing and gambling will be largely disappointed–something of a straight bat here, from the usually flamboyant player–but as well as inside reflections on the big games and great players, there are some revealing passages on the importance in his life of tragic friend and colleague Collie Smith, and a word or two on why this all-round sportsman, who represented Barbados internationally at cricket, football, table tennis and dominoes, would have swapped it all for the career of a pro golfer. –Alex Hankin

Garry Sobers: My Autobiography




  1. P. DATTA says:

    Sir Garfield Sobers is one the legends to emerge from West Indies cricket and remembered as the all time greats. Garry Sobers: My Autobiography is a detailed account of what this legend achieved in his cricketing career to his present life. It was interesting to learn about this cricketing figure.

    He achieved a number of records such as hammering six sixes in an over and the highest indiviudal score now surpassed by Brian Lara. He was not a successful captain, but a great all rounder with an excellent cricketing brain. Genius are not born to be great leaders. Not only cricketing career is featured in this autiobigraphy, but other aspects of his life are also detailed which include marriage and his physical health.

    If you have a passion for cricket like myself, I recommend that you read this autobiography. Ony criticism of it that it not up to date with current cricketing figures. With cricket, we have an obsession with figures as in highest individual scores and highest wicket takers, which constantly change if you know what I mean.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  2. Cricket, like many sporting autbiographies, do not strictly speaking exist as obviously these are ghost written by journlists. Cricket autobiographies are also formulaic – early life, my first test match, my battle with the authorities, great players I played with, modern players are good but not as good as the players of my generation and a chapter of what’s wrong with the game today. Occasionally there is a discussion of various bits of scandal but usually to justify/explain/hit back at the critics.

    Sobers autobiography is no exception. The only interesting parts are his anecdotes of colleagues and test matches he was involved in, and also those parts of his life that most people have forgotten – such as his ill advised trip to Zimbabwe in the early 1970s. However, it is quite easy to read so if you are an avid cricket fan who feels they must have an autobiography of arguably the best ever all rounder you won’t be too disappointed, but you won’t be too enlived either.
    Rating: 2 / 5

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