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BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: SIR GARFIELD SOBERS MAY 19th, 2002
Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used
DAVID FROST: Well with the current performance in the Test against Sri Lanka offering little in the way of hope to England's fans at the moment let's look back for a moment of the glory days of one great West Indies star who used to play county cricket here too. Garry Sobers managed many amazing feats, this was the first time anyone had ever scored six sixes off six balls in one over when he was playing for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan in 1968.
DAVID FROST: Fantastic stuff and now he's written his autobiography, an autobiography by Garry Sobers and he's here right now. Garry great to see you again.
GARRY SOBERS: Oh thank you very much.
DAVID FROST: That was, that was, we showed that a) for our viewers and b) for my sheer pleasure to see it again. There was an assist there off the fifth ball by that fielder. He did make a small contribution by luckily dropping...
GARRY SOBERS: Well he didn't really drop it at that time, he took the catch but he fell over the boundary with the ball in his hands. But you know David one of the things about the six sixes is one thing that wherever I go any part of the world everybody mentions the six sixes. I keep often saying you know, it seems as though it's the only thing I've ever done in cricket...
DAVID FROST: No everybody knows about the, the averages in the Tests and the fact, I mean you are undoubtedly called by everybody the greatest all-rounder who has ever played cricket.
GARRY SOBERS: Oh David it's nice to, to have a, that kind of...
DAVID FROST: Accolade?
GARRY SOBERS: Yeah, you know, because you know when you start playing a sport you always try to play it at your best and you always want to do whatever you can and I think in my career my most important role was to play for the team and by playing for the team I think I have had to be tremendously to achieve what I'd achieved because if I'd gone in to bat and there was nothing in the game it didn't matter whether I got out or not. But when the team needed me that was important for me to go out there and perform.
DAVID FROST: And would you say that the standard of cricket back in '68 there when you were doing those sixes, in the last 30 years or so on, as you've been watching cricket and you stopped playing it, has the standard improved or not? I guess cricketers are bitter?
GARRY SOBERS: You know, so many rules have been changed over the years that the game, I've always said, is different to when I played because when we played the game you know there was no limitation in the early days when I first started playing. You can bowl as many bouncers in an over as you wanted to. You set the field however you wanted to set the field, you can have three leg slips and two, and two galleys, two leg galleys. You can have four, five men behind square. Today there's so many different rules that, that's crept into the game and to have the front foot rule, the days when I played it was the back foot rule, some bowlers would bowl with their front foot about two or three feet over the batting crease. You know but today it's a different game, you have the helmets you have the chest pads, you have the arm pads and you know something about the game today when I hear people trying to weight the centre players, the players in the past. I keep saying to them, you know, you can't really class the players of the past with the players of the present because there's so many differences.
DAVID FROST: Oh that, that marvellous story about, exactly on that of Dean Jones and talking to Donald Bradman the Australian Test cricketer talking to Donald Bradman six months before he died and he said, tell Sir Don, you know, if you were facing up to Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, you know, what would be your average? And Bradman said oh about 50. And Dean Jones said oh that's great because I, I managed 47 and Bradman says, mind you I am 92.
GARRY SOBERS: Yes I heard that one, but I heard it a little bit different.
DAVID FROST: Oh did you?
GARRY SOBERS: I heard it was the English team that was over there.
DAVID FROST: The which?
GARRY SOBERS: The English team, and the question was...
DAVID FROST: I guess it's one of those tales that's told about everybody, like the Freddie Truman story, who are the three players, who are the three players who most excite you playing today?
GARRY SOBERS: Well I would say definitely Brian Lara is one of those, he's not doing too well at the present moment in the West Indies but he's certainly one, Sachin Tendulkar is another player, again he's not performing very well either, you know those two players and Australia's produced so many good players in the last few years, couple of years you know...You know a couple of years you know, Gilchrist, I would say that Gilchrist is probably one of the most attractive players at the present moment, his transformation from one day cricket into Test cricket has been tremendous.
DAVID FROST: With your reputation it must sadden you the amount of match fixing publicity there is, the fact that it may be billions of, of dollars going from India and Pakistan onto cricket and match fixing, does that depress you?
GARRY SOBERS: Yes I think it is very sad when that kind of thing creeps into the game of cricket and you don't know are the "involved" in this, you know there can be so many other people but it certainly is not good for the game and I certainly hope that they'll find a way in which they can, gets it out of cricket because cricket is such a wonderful game, to have that kind of influence over the game is not very good for it.
DAVID FROST: And at the end of your autobiography you say that if you had your life over again you might choose golf rather than cricket, that was a real surprise when you get to that last page?
GARRY SOBERS: I know, I've got so much out of the game, playing it and being able to travel and meet so many people and it has given me a wonderful life but you know in cricket, you know it doesn't matter how good you perform, there's always, when you're coming on to the end of your days you always get the press after you. I find in golf and those kind of sports, look at Jack Nicols, look at Arnold Palmer, when they walk on a golf, on a golf course now everybody's behind them, but a cricketer, as soon as cricket starts to fail, you know the press is after them you know, give it up, get out of it, or too old, you know but you don't get the same thing. But I enjoy golf tremendously, I started it late in life and I find it's one of those games that it bring the character out in the person.
DAVID FROST: Well we're delighted that you chose cricket, all of us cricket fans are delighted you chose cricket and not golf, you'd have probably been terrific at golf as well, but great to have you with us and good luck with the book.
GARRY SOBERS: Well thank you very much.
DAVID FROST: Garry Sobers the one and only.
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