Sir Everton, revered as last of the ‘musketeers’
Of very few can it be said that he was a top-quality cricketer, a topquality commentator and a topquality human being. But Sir Everton Weekes, who has died aged 95, was one.
He was one of the three W’s who made Barbados and West Indies famous for cricket in the 1950s. Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clyde Walcott are buried at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, and it is there that this brilliant batsman will rejoin his fellow ‘musketeers’.
Weekes was the first batsman to score five Test centuries in consecutive innings, and, to date, is still the only one. “Weekes possessed in full measure those gifts which are the hallmark of all really great batsman – exceptional quickness of eye and foot,” according to Wisden.
All three W’s were born within a mile of Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Weekes in the poorest circumstances. He left school at 14, worked on the ground staff at the Oval and only got the chance to play organised cricket when he joined the army, while Worrell and Walcott attended schools that played in the best men’s league.
Batting places were still, in effect, reserved for players of light skin, but Weekes was so brilliant that at 18 he forced his way into the Barbados team, then the West Indies team on England’s 1947-48 tour, aged 22. After some modest contributions in his first three Tests, and after being dropped for the fourth, Weekes was recalled and scored a match-winning 141.
Later that same year, Weekes scored 128 in the first Test – ever – between India and West Indies. Promoted from No 7 to four, he hammered 194 in the second. In both of these Tests he had only one innings. In the third, he had two innings – and hit 162 and 101.
His record-breaking on that tour won him a contract in the Lancashire League, playing for Bacup on a princely salary of £1,000 for 1949.
In 1950 he was the highest scorer in first-class matches, with 2,310 at 79, and was selected as one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year.
He played in the Lancashire League until 1958, before retiring, aged 33. He took life easy in Barbados, playing bridge, commentating on the radio with great insight.
Above all, Sir Everton remained a wonderful human being. May the sea-breezes blow gently over his grave beside Sir Clyde and Sir Frank.
Revered: Sir Everton Weekes helped to elevate West Indian cricket in the 1950s