The 3Ws fac­tor

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Sport 6 -

The era of the fa­mous Three Ws – Sir Frank Wor­rell, Sir Clyde Wal­cott and Sir Ever­ton Weekes – is long gone, but their deeds are not for­got­ten.

The great Ge­orge Headley played only three Tests after the war, and de­spite his out­stand­ing ca­reer, West Indies’ over­all mid­dle-or­der stats had been pretty or­di­nary be­fore the three Ws came along: un­til Jan­uary 20, 1948, the av­er­age for the mid­dle or­der (Nos. 3-6) in their 22 Tests had been 29.38, well be­low the cor­re­spond­ing num­bers for Aus­tralia (35.42) and Eng­land (35.57).

Over the next decade (1948 to 1958), the stats for Aus­tralia and Eng­land im­proved marginally, but for West Indies the av­er­age went up by a whop­ping 63 per cent com­pared to their mid­dle-or­der av­er­age be­fore the three Ws came along.

Dif­fer­ent level

That put them on a dif­fer­ent level al­to­gether when com­pared to the other teams. The West Indies mid­dle or­der av­er­aged 47.99, while the next best was Aus­tralia at 39.15. The dif­fer­ence be­tween the two teams, in per­cent­age terms, was al­most 23, which is re­mark­able con­sid­er­ing some of the other names who were around dur­ing that pe­riod.

Aus­tralia had Neil Har­vey and Lind­say Hassett; while De­nis Comp­ton, Peter May and Tom Graveney were play­ing for Eng­land. Yet, col­lec­tively, they paled be­fore the com­bined bril­liance of Weekes, Wal­cott and Wor­rell.

Dur­ing this pe­riod, much of West Indies’ bat­ting, and the runs they put up on the board, de­pended on the con­tri­bu­tions of the three Ws. A good ex­am­ple of this was the fifth Test of the home se­ries against Aus­tralia in 1955.

In the first in­nings, West Indies were bowled out for 357, of which 272 came from the bats of Wal­cott (155), Wor­rell (61) and Weekes (56). In the sec­ond in­nings, Wal­cott scored an­other cen­tury, and in all, the three Ws con­trib­uted 430 out of West Indies’ match to­tal of 676. West Indies, though, lost the match by an in­nings and 82 runs. Though their mid­dle or­der was so much bet­ter than those of the other sides, West Indies’ over­all re­sults in this era were not out­stand­ing. They won 17 and lost 15 out of 49 Tests, and their win-loss ra­tio was third best, be­hind Aus­tralia, who were far su­pe­rior, and Eng­land. Apart from the mid­dle or­der, the other as­pects of West Indies’ team weren’t the best. Aus­tralia and Eng­land had bet­ter open­ers, while four teams – Aus­tralia, Eng­land, South Africa and Pak­istan – had bet­ter bowl­ing at­tacks. West In­dian bowlers only av­er­aged 32.73 runs per wicket com­pared to Aus­tralia’s 26.10. But in terms of mid­dle-or­der bat­ting, no team came close to West Indies’ classy line-up. Weekes and Wor­rell both av­er­aged less than 40 against Aus­tralia, but feasted on the In­dian at­tack. Weekes av­er­aged 106.78 in ten Tests, and scored more runs off In­dia than any other team, while Wor­rell av­er­aged al­most 61 against In­dia, and 116.50 in two Tests against New Zealand. Wal­cott’s record was more con­sis­tent, with an av­er­age of 57 against Aus­tralia – in­clud­ing cen­turies in each in­nings in two Tests in 1955 – and more than 44 against all sides. There were 29 Tests that Weekes, Wor­rell and Wal­cott played to­gether, and in those matches, Wor­rell was the only one to av­er­age more than 50 (even though in terms of over­all ca­reer stats he was the only one among the three to av­er­age less than 50). West Indies, though, didn’t have a very suc­cess­ful time in those games, win­ning seven Tests and los­ing 12. Wor­rell’s av­er­aged dipped be­low 50 (49) fol­low­ing the tour of Eng­land in 1963 when he was 38 and past his best. How­ever, he has a bet­ter record in Eng­land and Aus­tralia than the other Ws.

1902 –

The first cricket Test be­tween South Africa and Aus­tralia be­gins.

1990 –

Pa­trick Ni­cholls wins Bri­tish Grand Prix to move a step closer to­wards join­ing the pro­fes­sional body­build­ing ranks.

2001 –

Floyd Reifer scores 104 not out off 125 balls as Bar­ba­dos de­feat Trinidad and Tobago by 49 runs at Kaiser in Ja­maica to reach the Red Stripe Bowl fi­nal.

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