Ravi Shastri didn’t even tell his mother that he had hit six sixes in an over. She would come to know from a Bhelpuri wala the next day. Out of the many memorable cricket moments featuring Shastri, as a player, broadcaster and a coach, perhaps hitting six 6s and holding the mic when Yuvraj Singh did so make for the top shelf.
“I’ve hit six 6s in an over, I’ve broadcasted while six 6s were being hit in an over and I’ve coached the team through matches where we didn’t hit a single six in any over, And yet I can never say I was prepared for what was coming next,” Shastri said during the latest episode of CRED’s The Long Game.
He then explained how scoring 36 runs off six balls was different with the context of the game back then in 1985.
“Much like Kapil Dev’s 175 in the world up, no television, no coverage. But six 6s was massive, I didn’t realize it at that moment of time, that only one person had hit six 6s till that time and that was Sir Garfield Sobers and I became the second man to hit six 6s.”
The former India coach who turned 60 last month, further explained his state of mind as a batter while he was scripting the historic feat.
“Now first-class cricket is different from white-ball cricket. You know till that 4th six was hit in that game against Baroda, you know I wasn’t even thinking six 6s. The moment the 5th one was hit, which was probably the biggest of the lot because it went off the ground at the Wankhede. Then I saw all my teammates along the side screen and then I realized that there is an opportunity to hit 6 sixes.”
“I knew very clearly that this guy’s head is muddled now. I am favorite here to get it, all I have to do is guess right. So I anticipated moving a little bit down the leg side thinking “create a space here, where if he bowls here I can smash him down the ground. if he bowls here, he goes here. I guessed wrong actually because when I went here, he went wide, but because of my height I could reach out and flat bat it to the side screen for six.”
When he returned home, he would only tell his mother, “Watch the 7:30 pm Marathi news” and head out. “Before that (news), I went to buy some groceries and a bhelpuri wallah told me that he had hit six sixes,” the mother would once tell Mid-Day.
In Shastri’s own strong words, ‘all hell broke loose’ when he hit that sixth biggie, later completing what is to this day the fastest double hundred in first-class cricket.
It is this attention to detail that helped Shastri the commentator when he was on air during the India-England match in the 2007 T20 World Cup as Yuvraj Singh hit six maximums off Stuart Broad in the 19th over of the innings.
“I go into my state of mind having hit six 6s myself as to trying to anticipate what must be in the mind of the bowler and the batsmen,” he says.
“You know there was an exchange of words (between Yuvraj Singh and Andrew Flintoff), it had obviously rattled and needled Yuvraj. The stage was set for something special to happen and it started. The first one went for six, second one went for six, the third one went for six and David Lloyd jumped out of his seat and took off. What happened after that was sheer mayhem.”
Just after the fourth six was slashed over backward point, Shastri would pipe up on air: “He has the licence here to go for the full monty: six sixes!”
“When the 5th six was hit, again David taking off, with me of course. And I knew, and I said it in commentary, “I think Yuvraj is favorite to hit a six here”. The next one goes massive for 6, that’s when you take off. No one knew what was going to happen. It takes fierce concentration.”
Back then on air, he would scream out, “And he has put it away or has he? Yes he has put in the crowd. Six sixes! Yuvraj finishes things off in style. First time it has happened in Twenty20! … That’s the full monty!”