The middle of the previous century was the era of the three Ws of West Indies cricket — Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Clyde Walcott. Imagine a team where the three Ws came one after another in the batting order; Walcott with a Test batting average of 56.69, Weekes with an average of 58.61 and Worrell with a career average of 49.48. However, 1 July 2020 saw the last of the Ws, as Everton Weekes left for his heavenly abode at the age of 95 years.
The romance of the story of the Ws is perhaps never-ending and for the statistically-inclined it would be rather strange to note that they lived their lives for a duration which was in the same order as their Test batting averages. While Weekes with the highest batting average among the three lived to be 95, Walcott lived to be only 80 and Worrell only 42 at the fall of his life’s wicket.
The story of Everton Weekes may not be one from rags-to-riches but definitely one from rags to immortality. The three Ws flourished in an age when the colour of the skin had many related consequences, so Everton suffered from two major disadvantages; he was poor and he was black. Added to that was yet another drawback of the period in which Everton was growing as a youngster; 1939 to 1945 was the period of the Second World War when all sporting events were pushed to the back seats.
When Everton finally did get a break to represent the West Indies, he had a rather dismal start to his International career and may have been dropped for the fourth and final Test against England but for an injury to George Headley, the latter also known as the Black Bradman due to his exceptional achievements with the bat (career Test average of 60.83). Thereafter, there was no looking back for Everton as he scored his maiden Test century in that match. In fact, he became the fastest man to score 1,000 runs in Test cricket when he achieved the landmark in only his twelfth innings, one better than Bradman. The legendary Sir Donald Bradman is often considered as the benchmark for all batting greatness but even he could not reach the landmark so fast.
Ironically, it was the tour of India that put Everton’s career in top gear. With a century already in his bag in the last innings before the Indian tour, Everton scored four more centuries in consecutive innings against India to set a new record of centuries in five consecutive Test innings — a record that stands till date. The record may have been a little longer but for a controversial run-out decision when Everton was on 90 in the sixth consecutive innings.
Everton was named so by his father after an English Football Club and his full name, Everton De Courcy Weekes, shows a French influence, as well. His early years were spent playing both football and cricket, but it was in cricket that he got a favourable break. Everton Weekes went on to become one of the hardest hitting batsmen with the talent to play with ease on both sides of the wicket. Although Everton continued to play first class cricket till 1964, his international career had a premature end in 1958 due to a persistent thigh injury.
As this great batman bids his final adieu to his fans, there is no doubt that he will always be remembered for his furious batting performance. In fact, among the all-time ten batsmen with the highest career batting average, Everton stands at the eighth position. The ten names include four from England, three from the West Indies, two from Australia and one from South Africa.
However, there shall always be one rider to remembering Everton Weekes. For enthusiastic cricket fans, so embroiled have been the names of the three Ws, that it would always be difficult to remember any one of them in seclusion. They will always be remembered as one of the three Ws.