(This is part six of the 199s. Find part five here – and in part five you will find links to parts one, two, three, and four.)
I have to wonder if Andy Flower, the architect of England’s recent phenomenal success on the cricket field, ever falls asleep thinking about a certain knock of his…a knock where he finished one run short of a double century against his birth country of South Africa for his adopted country, Zimbabwe.
The date was September the 7th, 2001. In four days, the entire world would be changed forever, but on the seventh, we were all still worried about Gary Condit and shark attacks, and Flower was doing his best to lead his team to a hard fought draw.
In Zimbabwe’s third innings, he batted for 590 minutes, amassing 199 runs, only to simply run out of partners. 199 with an asterisk. The only member of the 199 Club to finish the innings not out.
It was the first test of a two test series…ergh, wait a minute…
I have run into a bit of problem with these 199 posts.
It seems when Cricinfo lists the date, it is not the date that the batsman actually scored his 199th run, it is instead the day that the match started.
And so: Azharuddin did not get his 199 on the same day as the first triple organ transplant, and Waugh got out not on the third day of the NATO led bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, but probably on the fourth day or so.
And as such: Flower’s 199 not out came not on the 7th of September, 2001 – but on the 11th of September, 2001. Not probably six hours before the first plane hit, considering the time difference.
Considering that, I bet he thinks of that knock quite often, as we all remember quite well where we were when the towers fell.
The match was the first in a two match series – the second took place as scheduled a week later – ending in a draw at Bulawayo.
Flower’s 199 happened in the third innings, but before that, South Africa put up a huge score in their first at bat, then scuttled the hosts for 286 which forced the follow on, at which time Zimbabwe put up a decent score of 391 – thanks of course to Andy Flower – but it wasn’t enough as Kirsten and Kallis (after Dippenaar’s duck) gave South Africa the victory in just a little over two hours.
As with the most of his fellow 199 Club members, Flower will not rue not seeing the happy side of 200 too much, as he had a double century against India at Nagpur the previous November.
Flower, of course, had a wonderful Test career for Zimbabwe. He played in their inagural Test match against India at Harare – and then went on to play 63 more for his country, scoring 4,794 runs, including 12 hundreds.
Interesting enough, seven of those 12 triple digit scores have astericks next to them: it seems he found himself quite often in the position of just simply running out of people to bat with.
A great many of those tests were played alongside his brother, Grant Flower. Grant was more of all rounder: scoring 3,457 runs in his 67 matches but also taking 25 wickets.
Big brother Andy retired from Test cricket in 2002.
His nickname was Petals.
If I ever meet him, I am going to ask him about that 199 he scored in Africa on September 11th, 2001.
Today, Mohammad Amir was released from jail. His six month sentence for gambling related activies was halved thanks to UK law.
His appeal to the ICC to shorten his five year ban from playing cricket is on going.
Now, like cricket fans the world over: I loved watching Amir bowl:
Loved, loved, loved.
And that’s why it pains me to say this: he should never bowl again.
Sure, of course, he is the least complicit of the four jailed parties, but it is absolutely imperative that a lesson be taught to cricketers the world over: this sort of behavior will not be tolerated – and it will end your career.
The ICC in this case can take a lesson from Major League Baseball and their lifetime ban of Pete Rose for betting on baseball. It might seem overly harsh, but such bans are vital to the game – when people start to question every play, every result, every error, every meatball, then your game is ruined forever. MLB knows this, and the ICC needs to take heed and increase the length of the ban to a lifetime ban for all guilty parties.
I loved watching him bowl, and I love Pakistani cricket, but it needs to happen.
And the same lifetime ban needs to be handed down to Mervyn Westfield, and all other County Cricketers whose behavior comes to light during this period of amnesty.
Your amnesty is you don’t go to prison – but you are still not allowed to ever play cricket again.
All of the above is simply my opinion, I would love to hear yours.
Now back to watching the match in the title of this post on cricket.com.au. Free and legal; god bless the future.