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1968 was a year of rebellion and uproar. There were student riots in Paris. Czechoslovakia staged a crazy, doomed bid for freedom from the Soviet oppressors. There were huge demonstrations against the Vietnam war throughout the West. Sit ins and protests continued on UK university campuses, over a variety of issues. It was a year of assassinations: Martin Luther King cut down in Memphis; presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy slain in Los Angeles.
A week before Sobers’ feat Basil D’Oliveira was left out of the England team to tour South Africa. The subsequent furore was a significant factor in the ultimate collapse of Apartheid. On October 18, at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, Bob Beamon set a world record for the long jump with a leap of 8.90 m, bettering the existing record by 55 cm.
The year closed on a serene, unearthly note as man, for the first time, circled the Moon. Within a year two Americans would have landed there and returned safely to earth.
With so many remarkable, frantic, tragic, heroic things happening in ’68, the greatest cricket player might as well go and smash the ultimate cricket record. It was part of the iconoclasm.
And the writer was there.