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One Tour Too Many is the title of a chapter in David Footâ€™s Wally Hammond: The Reasons Why. Therein the author argues that the man who Sir Leonard Hutton described as â€œthe most perfect batsman I ever saw, more enjoyable to watch than Sir Donâ€, might have made a misjudgment when he embarked on his last tour to Australia in the winter of 1946-47.
â€œHammond was now 43,â€ Foot wrote, â€œHis eyes were tired and his teeth stained from nicotine. Some of the natural exuberances had gone from his exquisite strokeplay, even though he had just topped the first-class averages again (84.90) and at times batted quite beautifully in limited appearances.â€
Hammondâ€™s Test average is 58.45. But he ended that tour with a total of 168 runs in eight innings, averaging a paltry 21.00, and looked nothing like the master batsman the Australians had witnessed on prior visits. In short: Wally Hammond was no longer Wally Hammond.
By 1980, Muhammad Ali was no longer Ali. â€œThe Greatest,â€ now 38, was about to challenge his friend, one-time sparring partner and WBC heavyweight champion, Larry Holmes. To anyone paying close attention, and even to casual onlookers, this was not the Ali of years past. This was not the â€œfloat like a butterfly, sting like a beeâ€ Ali. The fast-dancing, fast-talking, supple, athlete was replaced by one who slurred his words, was slightly labouring in his movements.
Whether admitting it or not, those around him noticed. They saw the transformation, saw Ali was slowing, but felt some compulsion to indulge the great man. It wasnâ€™t as if heâ€™d not been doubted before â€“ few thought he couldâ€™ve beaten Sonny Liston, and later, George Foreman â€“ but even against the most foreboding odds he somehow found a way. They were sure heâ€™d find a way again.
Is it because of Pigmentation ??
(tongue in cheek but worth a thought)