A cricketer of class and a gentleman on and off the field, is how late legendary West Indies batsman Sir Everton Weekes has been remembered by many in the sport, as tributes continue to pour in following his death on Wednesday.
From Manchester where the West Indies team are preparing for their three-Test series against England, coach Phil Simmons and team manager Rawl Lewis said in separate tributes that the Barbadian’s death was a “sad day for West Indies cricket”.
Sir Everton, who had been the oldest surviving West Indies cricketer, passed away at home at age 95.
Simmons hailed him as “a gentleman of the game and someone who has done so much for West Indies cricket, not just on the field but off the field”.
“I think the West Indies lost a gentleman in Sir Everton Weekes. We’ve lost what has been a true icon of West Indies cricket,” he said.
Reflecting on a conversation he had over dinner with the last of the distinguished ‘Three Ws’ four years ago, the coach said Sir Everton was still in tune with what was happening in the regional game.
“He still paid a lot of attention to West Indies cricket, even in his 90s, and he could have a conversation with you about what was happening now as well as what happened in his time,” Simmons said.
Lewis added that Sir Everton was a great player and a gentleman who “served both on the field and off the field”, as he offered condolences to the late cricketer’s loved ones on behalf of the West Indies team in Manchester.
Another West Indies cricket great, Rohan Kanhai, said interacting with and watching Sir Everton play had been a joy and learning experience.
“He was my favourite cricketer; I loved to see him bat. He was class, he was a joy to see. When I joined the team in ’58 he was still playing. I learned so much from him. He was a teacher, he was someone who would talk to you about batting, but he would also go out there on the pitch and show how to get it done. As a batsman he was of the highest class, to average at 58 at the highest level shows how much of a brilliant batsman he was,” the 84-year-old Guyanese said, as he also remembered the other Ws – Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clyde Walcott.
“It was also an honour to play alongside the other illustrious gentlemen – Sir Frank and Sir Clyde. I came along at a time and I grew to understand what they did for West Indies cricket and how I had to carry on for the people.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) also offered its condolences.
In a statement, chief executive Manu Sawhney remembered the ICC Cricket Hall of Famer as a top batsman of his era and one whose performances will be long remembered.
“Weekes is a distinguished name in cricket and he was an integral member of one of the best Test sides ever. We all know of the ‘The Three Ws’ that comprised Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott and Weekes, and the reputation they had during the 1940s and 50s,” he said of the cricket great who served as an ICC match referee after retiring from the game.
“His attacking batting contributed in making the West Indies such an attractive side to watch. To be in that team itself was such a big honour, but there were times when Weekes really stood apart with his distinct style.”
The UK-based Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) added that Sir Everton would forever be remembered as “one of West Indies cricket’s finest cricketers”.
In his illustrious career, Sir Everton scored 4,455 runs at an average of 58.61 in 48 Tests and is the only man to make centuries in five consecutive Test innings. His first-class career yielded 12,010 runs and 36 centuries from 152 matches, at an average of 55.24 runs per innings.
The innings set in train history as Sir Everton promptly reeled off hundreds in his next four innings on the tour of India, including triple figures in each innings at Calcutta (now Kolkata), to establish an unbroken world record. (CMC)
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