The late Sir Everton Weekes was today described by Vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies Professor Sir Hilary Beckles as one of the great revolutionaries of the Caribbean, while delivering the eulogy at the funeral service for the legendary Barbados and West Indies’ batsman at Kensington Oval.
“Sir Everton was one of the great revolutionaries of the Caribbean world because he deliberately designed a method to turn this history upon its head. He was a disturber of the colonial base that denied any justice, and yet he emerged as a dignified man representing everything he was not supposed to be. If ever a bat became a bridge, if ever a bat became a beacon, if ever a bat became a baton, it was the bat in the hands of Everton Weekes. We know of the statistics that defined his cricket, they are etched in his records, standing in defiance of the corrosion of time. Sir Everton’s bat was also part of the social revolution that was taking place against colonial rulers in the Caribbean in the 1940s and early 1950s,” the distinguished historian said.
Sir Hilary told those attending the official funeral which was held a stone’s throw away from Pickwick Gap where Sir Everton was born in 1925, that they were gathered to celebrate and salute a special gift of greatness and gentility that represented a consciousness which was so profound that it appears to be lost in the modern culture of global management. The noted academic said in the landscape of the life and times of Sir Everton, the world witnessed a phenomenon, the volcanic eruption in Westbury Road of a man who was short in physical statue but destined to become a global giant in a sport filled with giants which was almost impossible to climb.
In a tribute that constantly referred to the historical links between cricket and the role it played in the social development of the masses in the region, Sir Hilary said Sir Everton’s huge appetite for scoring runs was well know. He pointed out that in the decade between 1948 and 1958, the batting maestro played 48 Tests and scored 4455 runs at an average of 58.61, and is the only batsman to score five consecutive hundreds in Test cricket.
He recalled that after flogging India’s bowlers for 779 runs at an average of 102.28 when the West Indies toured the sub-continent in1950, he amassed 716 runs off India when they toured the Caribbean for the first time in 1953. Sir Hilary mentioned that when the West Indies played their maiden Test series against New Zealand, Sir Everton compiled three successive Test centuries in the three-match away series.
Sir Hilary reminded the mourners present as well as those watching the service on television and on the internet that in 1950 and 1956, the pundits deemed Sir Everton to be the best batsman in the world. Sir Hilary who wrote a biography of Sir Everton titled “Mastering The Craft”, told of a conversation between himself and Sir Everton that revealed the reason why he was such a run-making machine.
“I asked him why did you make the super human effort to those back-to-back centuries not once but twice, to which Sir Everton replied: ‘Back in those colonial days, performance on the field and selection did not always go hand in hand. I could not vote when I was selected to play for my country, I had to shake the selectors, you had to make so much runs that the selectors would lose sleep if they did not pick you’,” Sir Hilary recalled.
He stated that Sir Everton along the other two Ws – Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clyde Walcott – helped lay the cornerstone for the West Indies to rise to the top of world cricket which took place between 1965 and 1967 under the leadership of Sir Garry Sobers and continued from 1980 to 1995 under Sir Clive Lloyd, Sir Vivian Richards and Sir Richie Richardson.
Godson Adrian Donovan paid tribute on behalf of Sir Everton’s family. Donovan said that anytime Andy, one of Sir Everton’s sons got struck on his pads in a cricket game in which the great man was umpiring, his father gave him out. Eventually Andy mustered the courage to ask his father why he always gave him out lbw whenever the ball struck his pads and his dad replied, “the ball should hit your bat, not your pads.”
The body of Sir Everton was laid to rest at the Three Ws Oval next to Sir Frank and Sir Clyde who predeceased him in 1967 and 2006 respectively.
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