Norman Gordon, the only cricketer alive to have played in the Timeless Test, is not convinced the 'timeless' format would stand the test of time if it returned in 2013 to decide the World Test Championship, as proposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The ninety-nine-year-old, also the oldest living Test cricketer, was the last man with the ball in his hand as umpires abandoned the Timeless Test in March, 1939 (played at Kingsmead, Durban) after 10 days, only so that England could catch an 8.05 pm train to Cape Town to board their ship home. Gordon had bowled 92.2 eight-ball overs, and with the weather closing in and England within 42 runs of victory, there could have been a 11th day.
Gordon's son, Brian said that his father had suffered a nasty fall recently, but was "doing fine for his age" at their Johannesburg residence.
"It has all died out. I am not sure how that will be possible in today's day and age. One thing is for certain, if it does take place, players will have their endurance tested to the limit. It will be the ultimate test of time -- and their potential," Brian said, on behalf of his father. Asked if he felt players would approach the Test without a time limit differently, Gordon said: "I am not sure... it will surely play on their mind. But they will probably continue playing the same way. I bowled close to 120 six-ball overs to get just one wicket, and hope nobody has to go through something like that again."
100 not out?
Meanwhile, former South Africa captain Dr Ali Bacher is planning a special celebration for Norman's impending 100th birthday. "On the day before his birthday, I am taking him to his school -- Jeppe Old Boys. It's going to be a special occasion," Bacher told MiD DAY.
"On his birthday night, former fast bowlers Peter Pollock, Shaun Pollock, Neil Adcock, Makhaya Ntini, Allan Donald and Fanie de Villiers will be in attendance. Since Norman was a fast bowler, it made sense to invite them.
"He will be the first-ever Test cricketer to live 100 years -- and I want to make it count. He has had quite a few operations (kidney problem)recently but has battled on," he added.