111 Nelson in Cricket: Nelson is a term used in cricket to refer to the score of 111 or its multiples. It has been associated with various superstitions, including Nelson’s naval victories or the notion of him having one eye, one arm, and one leg. However, these claims are not accurate as Nelson did not lose a leg or his eye. The origins of the term are unclear.
Cricket historian Bill “Bearders” Frindall once mentioned Nelson as “one eye, one arm, and one etcetera,” suggesting that the alleged third missing body part was something else. However, this is purely a mythical interpretation.
In the movie Goodbye, Mr Chips, a schoolboy refers to Nelson as having “one arm, one eye, one destiny.” Umpire David Shepherd, in a radio interview celebrating his retirement, explained Nelson as “One arm, one eye, and one lump of sugar in his tea.” Superstitious beliefs surround the score of Nelson, with the notion that bad things are likely to happen at that score.
However, a magazine investigation in the 1990s found no evidence to support this claim. In fact, the most common score at which wickets fall is 0 (a duck). The similarity between the number 111 and a wicket without bails may contribute to the perception of it being unlucky.
What is Nelson in Cricket?
The New Zealand cricket team Nelson had a significant association with the score of 111. In both their first and last first-class innings, they were dismissed for 111. Umpire David Shepherd popularized the practice of raising a leg or legs from the ground when Nelson was on the scoreboard. This action was meant to ward off any ill fate. When the crowd noticed this, they would cheer Shepherd’s leg-raising.
In Australian cricket, the equivalent superstitious number is 87, known as the “Devil’s Number.” Some believe that 87 is considered unlucky because it falls short of 100 by thirteen runs. Another explanation is that it gained this reputation when Ian Johnson was dismissed for 87, and Keith Miller commented, “That’s funny, I once saw Bradman dismissed for 87.” It was later discovered that Bradman had actually been dismissed for 89, but the superstition persisted.
Statistics have shown that more Australian batsmen are indeed dismissed on scores surrounding 87. In a remarkable turn of events during the 1981 Ashes series, Australia was dismissed for 111 in the final innings of the Test match at Headingley. They were chasing a target of 130, completing an extraordinary comeback after England had been forced to follow-on.
Ian Botham’s exceptional performance, taking six wickets and scoring 50 runs in Australia’s first innings, along with Bob Willis’ eight wickets, secured the victory for England.
Why is number 111 Called Nelson in Cricket? Why it is Wrong?
On 11 November 2011, during a Test match between South Africa and Australia, with the time displaying 11:11 and South Africa needing 111 runs to win, the majority of the crowd and umpire Ian Gould imitated Shepherd’s leg raise for that minute, as the scoreboard showed 11:11 11/11/11.
During the fourth Test of the 2015 Ashes series, Australia was dismissed for 60 in just 111 legitimate deliveries (with three no-balls) in the first innings. Stuart Broad’s exceptional performance of 8/15 contributed to this being the shortest first innings in Test history (at least counting legitimate deliveries).
However, Bangladesh’s collapse against the West Indies in Antigua in 2018 lasted 112 legitimate deliveries and did not include any no-balls or wides.
On 8 May 2019, in the Women’s T20 Challenge between Trailblazers and Velocity, Trailblazers were 111 for 2 while chasing a target of 113. Unfortunately, they then lost five wickets in seven balls without adding any runs, resulting in the score becoming 111 for 7. Despite this setback, they managed to win the match.
The Story Behind The “111 Nelson” in cricket
The Origin of “Nelson” in Cricket The term “Nelson” is cricket slang that holds both superstition and significance for fans worldwide. It refers to multiples of 111, whether achieved by a team or an individual. The term gained popularity from a British Navy officer who endured multiple injuries and organ loss. While some consider the number and its multiples as bad omens, such instances are rare.
Commentators on air often refer to it as “Nelson strikes” when a team loses a wicket on 111 or a batsman is dismissed on that score.
This term is derived from Horatio Nelson, born on September 29, 1758. He was Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB, and served as a British flag officer in the Royal Navy from 1771 to 1805.
Nelson was renowned for his leadership skills, which led to numerous victories for the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars.
During the attack on Corsica on July 12, 1974, Nelson’s position was hit by a gunshot early in the morning. He was struck in the right eye by debris, forcing him to retire temporarily.
However, he soon returned to action. Although the attack was successful, Nelson lost his sight in that eye due to the injury.
In 1797, during the unsuccessful battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Nelson lost his right arm. As he stepped ashore after reaching the destination, he was shot in the right arm by a rifle. This incident resulted in multiple fractures in his humerus bone.
Nelson was shot and killed during his final victory at the Battle of Trafalgar near the port city of Cádiz in 1805. Interestingly, people referred to him as “One eye, one arm, and one leg,” despite both his legs being intact at the time of his death.
Connection to Cricket:
The term “Nelson” gained popularity in cricket circles as teams started considering multiples of 111 as dangerous scores. Bill Frindall, a well-known cricket historian and scorer, once described Nelson as “one eye, one arm, and one etcetera,” suggesting that the alleged third body part Nelson lost was “something else.”
The association of Nelson with cricket may have roots in the first-class team from New Zealand named Nelson, which played between 1874 and 1891. In their first match against Wellington, Nelson was bowled out for 111 in their first innings (the game ended in a tie). Interestingly, in their final innings in first-class cricket in 1891, also against Wellington, Nelson’s innings ended on 111.
Renowned ICC umpire David Shepherd was known for hopping on one leg whenever a team’s score reached multiples of 111.
During a Test match between South Africa and Australia on November 11, 2011, the home team needed 111 more runs to win at 11:11 AM. Umpire Ian Gould and the crowd recreated Shepherd’s act for that minute.
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