Cricket,Nelson’s Eye and 111

The many portraits by Abbott originate from th...
The many portraits by Abbott originate from the wish of Horatio Nelson’s friend William Locker, Lieutenant-Governor of Greenwich Hospital. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We often hear of ‘ Nelson’s eye’ when the score is 111.

I used to wonder as this information relating to Nelson is incorrect.

I searched the net and found the answer which states that Cricket is continuing with this wrong information as people are imbued with Superstition  about 111.

“However, to English batsmen, Nelson means a score of 111 and is the unluckiest number in the game. The superstitious custom is to remove one or both feet from the ground until the score has moved on.

Why 111? The term was invented in the belief that Lord Nelson was unlucky enough to have had only one eye, one arm and one leg. Nelson wasn’t quite this unfortunate as he actually had two legs, but the cricket term has survived all attempts by historians to correct it.

And the superstition – watch out for the cricket umpire David Shepherd who keeps one leg off the ground by hopping from one foot to the other!

The expression has been around for several hundred years, and it has the same meaning as ‘turn a blind eye’ to something. When you turn a blind eye to a problem, you choose to deliberately ignore it; you pretend the problem does not exist.

*How can Gautam turn a Nelson’s eye to the rampant corruption in his department?

*The Vice-Chancellor turned a Nelson’s eye to the drug problem on campus.

The Nelson in the expression refers to Horatio Nelson, the inspirational British naval officer who was blind in one eye. In 1801, at Copenhagen, Nelson led the main attack against a fleet of Dutch and Norwegian ships. During the height of battle, Nelson’s superior officer, Admiral Hyde Parker, signalled him to withdraw. When Nelson’s men saw the signal, they informed him of it. Nelson then took out his telescope and looked through it using his blind eye. He is believed to have said, “I have only one eye, and I have the right to be blind sometimes. I really do not see the signal.” Nelson ordered his men to continue fighting, and a few hours later, after a hard fought battle, he emerged victorious.


Author: ramanan50

Retired Senior Management Professional. Lectures on Indian Philosophy,Hinduism, Comparative Religions. Researching Philosophy, Religion. Free lance Writer.Blogger

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