By Colville Mounsey
A virtual who’s who of West Indies cricket legends, Barbadian dignitaries, including Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, turned out to the Sir Garfield Sobers’ 80th birthday gala and dinner at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Center on Friday night.
The event was part of the 80th birthday celebrations of Barbados’ only living National Hero. It was a night which featured an outpouring of glowing tributes and funny anecdotes of on-field exploits about the man who has been heralded by most as the greatest cricketer the world has ever seen.
Sobers’ exceptional cricket mind and humanitarian spirit was the common theme among those who shared the field of play with him or those who interacted with him in a mentorship capacity.
One of the more striking stories on the night, which highlighted Sir Garry’s uncanny ability to analyze an opponent by mere mannerism was told by Reverend Sir Wes Hall. The former West Indies Cricket Board president and fast bowling great described Sir Garry as man with an almost superhuman ability to analyze susceptibilities of a batsman by the way he puts on his pads.
“One of things which caught my attention about him every time it happened was his brilliant cricket mind. The guy is like no one else and I have spent long hours on and off the field wondering where he got his ability from. He is able to analyze a cricketer from the way he picks up the bat and the way he puts on his pads and bowl the perfect delivery to that batsman,” said Hall.
The honour of wishing the legend happy birthday was not reserved for those in attendance, as there were pre-recorded birthday wishes from numerous current and former international stars, many of whom never had the privilege of playing with or against the great man but were in some way inspired by him.
Those gathered also had an opportunity to hear from the legend himself in a 30-minute interview during which he recounted many of his more memorable exploits.