Why 111 is a Nelson Number in Cricket? Interesting Facts

Have you ever come across the term Nelson number in cricket? Do you know the superstition that evolves around Nelson with the number 111 in cricket?

People believe that the Nelson number in cricket is unlucky for a batsman or the team. Particularly, the England cricket team strongly believes in the superstition of Nelson. Similarly, the Australian cricket team considers 87 as the devil’s number.

Some cricketers claim that they don’t mind about these figures much after their dismissal. In reality, the players are aware of how much they get affected deep inside which can sometimes demotivate their performance in the next matches.

What is a Nelson number in cricket? Why do the cricket teams consider it as unlucky? Who is Nelson, and why is the term named after him? How did the Nelson number become famous in cricket?

On behalf of every cricket fan, the answers to the above-mentioned questions will be discussed in detail…

Also, it would be exciting to find out if the Nelson number in cricket is really unlucky or not.

What is a Nelson number in cricket?

Usually, teams consider the Nelson number as unlucky for a batsman. They believe in the superstition that the batting team’s wickets fall continuously either on Nelson or its multiples. In other words, the batting side recognizes it as a “cursed number”.

Most often, commentators use the term “Nelson” every time the team’s scoreboard or a batsman’s score reaches 111 or its multiples (222, 333 and so on…)

It is a sort of warning by the commentators to the viewers that a wicket or some bad luck is set to happen.

Interestingly, the figure of “111” represents three stumps in cricket, which is a sign of dismissal for a batsman.

Many fans and experts recognize this effect as “Double Nelson (222)”, “Triple Nelson (333)” and so on…

Who is Nelson? Why 111 is known as Nelson Number in Cricket?

Nelson was a British officer, who suffered various injuries during the time of his death. While nearing the end of his life, Nelson had “One Eye, One Leg and One Arm”.  He succeeded in registering his name in history for his victory and death at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805.

However, Nelson had both his legs with the third missing body part that remains mythical in history. Also, he never lost his eyes. Rather he lost a clear eyesight but could distinguish between the light and dark colours. Moreover, he had only one arm. It is because he underwent amputation after a musket ball hit his right arm during the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

In simpler terms, the “one-one-one” from the above historical facts represents the number “111” in cricket.

However, it remains unknown who named the term “Nelson” in cricket and how it emerged, but the Nelson Number in cricket is widely believed by the England cricket team.

Another possible origin of Nelson is from the New Zealand cricket team. Nelson was a team that participated in first-class cricket from 1874 to 1891 in New Zealand. Coincidentally, Wellington dismissed the batting side for “111” in their first and last innings of the first-class contest.

How did Nelson Number become famous in cricket?

It was after the 1990s when the legendary umpire David Shepherd described the term Nelson Number with his actions.

The late English umpire raised a leg whenever the score reached 111 to represent the Nelson number in cricket. David Shepherd regarded it as an attempt to drive away the evil forces and avoid suffering fate.

As a result, his weird and funny actions from Shepherd became famous over a certain time. Also, crowds started cheering and dancing whenever the English umpire showed the actions at a score of 111 or its multiples.

Even after David Shepherd passed away, none of the umpires or players attempted to carry the gesture to indicate the Nelson number. But, fans, as well as experts off-field, acknowledge the presence of 111 and its multiples reached by the batting side.

Is the Nelson number in cricket unlucky? The realities you should know!

Certainly NOT! Here are a few examples that prove that the Nelson number in cricket is just a superstition:

  • Few people consider the double and triple Nelson as unlucky. But What about Chris Gayle? The former West Indies cricketer scored 333 runs in his test career. Moreover, he went on to become the “Universal Boss” in the shortest format of the game by preferring his jersey number “333”. It is logical to consider that if Chris Gayle scored 333, he would have certainly crossed 111 and its multiples without any hurdles.
  • During the Women’s t20 Challenge 2019, Trailblazers at 111-2, dropped to 111-7, by losing 5 wickets in quick succession. Nevertheless, they won the match by chasing the target of 113 runs.

Despite the practical evidence, many people still believe that a Nelson number is unlucky and worse than a duck in cricket.

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