Ross Whiteley’s extraordinary performance for Worcestershire against Yorkshire in the NatWest T20 Blast will live long in the memory – not least in that of the unfortunate bowler Karl Carver, the 21-year-old left-arm spinner who was three times hit straight towards the Rugby Stand and three times over the short leg-side boundary to the West Stand in an over that also included a wide.
Before I go any further, a quick word on Carver … he is a fine prospect who has done well for the club when given the chance.
And as his captain Tim Bresnan said afterwards, he is the sort of character who can bounce back from this, with Bresnan admitting that he perhaps should not have entrusted the 16th over of Worcestershire’s run-chase to Carver, with the powerful left-handed Whiteley eying the short leg-side rope.
Carver could also do worse than reflect that no less a bowler than England pace man Stuart Broad knows exactly how he feels.
Broad was hit for six sixes in an over by the former Yorkshire batsman Yuvraj Singh in a World T20 game in Durban in 2007, six months after another former Yorkshire batsman, Herschelle Gibbs, dished out the exact same treatment to leg-spinner Daan van Bunge of the Netherlands while playing for South Africa in a 50-over World Cup match in St Kitts.
The other two instances of six sixes in an over in senior cricket were, of course, Garry Sobers’s dismantling of Malcolm Nash’s left-arm spin while playing for Notts against Glamorgan at Swansea in 1968, immortalised as one of BBC’s 100 Great Sporting Moments, followed by the lesser known feat of former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri against left-arm spinner Tilak Raj while playing for Bombay against Baroda at Bombay in 1985.
Readers may also recall that Lancashire’s Jordan Clark hit six sixes in an over off the Yorkshire left-arm spinner Gurmam Randhawa at Scarborough in 2013, although that took place in a second team match.
Back to Whiteley …
Aged 28 and born in Sheffield, he came up through the Derbyshire youth system before joining Worcestershire in 2013, and he epitomises the deep reservoir of batting talent in the English one-day game.
Although included in the England Performance Squad for the winter of 2015-16, and also named in the Lions squad for a T20 series against Pakistan A, there will be some cricket fans in this country who will not have heard of Whiteley or, at least, are only vaguely aware of him.
They are unlikely to be found in great quantities in Yorkshire, though, for Whiteley already had previous against the White Rose having helped Worcestershire into the quarter-finals of the Blast two years ago when he struck an unbeaten 91 from 35 balls at Headingley, including 11 sixes.
He can certainly strike a long ball, as they say in the trade, and his ratio of sixes per T20 game is the seventh-best in the world behind such renowned strikers as Chris Gayle and David Warner.
Perhaps Whiteley’s six-fest at Headingley will finally alert the antennae of lucrative T20 leagues, which could do worse than take a punt on his talents.