Sir Ever­ton, revered as last of the ‘mus­ke­teers’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Scyld Berry chief cricket writer

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.