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DateLine Sunday, 17 February 2008

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Weekes and Walcott gave ample support to Worrell

CRICKET: The confernment of knighthood on Everton De Courcey Weekes suggests many positive things with the ultimate triumph for the legendary Three W's - Sir Frank Worrell - knighted a long time ago, Clyde Walcott - a one-time President of the West Indies Cricket Board had taken world cricket by storm. Walcott was awarded OBE for his services to the game, Weekes was awarded OBE for his contribution to cricket.

Time was when this trio had taken West Indies right to the top. Worrell had been dealt with and Walcott, with grace and style could scare the Dickens out of any bowler with his awesome power and deadly designs.

Weekes, whose ferocity all but concealed a superb technique, whose hunger for runs was perhaps next to Don Bradman only. The three enjoyed a tremendous psychological hold over the bowlers during their playing days.

The very fact that they were playing for the same side made their presence in the West Indies team simply awe-inspiring. Individually and collectively, the three Ws as they were fondly called during their playing days, captured the imagination of cricket followers.

Worrell, Weekes and Walcott were unique in that they were three capable players. Worrell was just over medium height, slim and quick in his movements.

Of the three, he was the natural leader, shrewed, humorous and with unfailing courtesy. Weekes was short, stocky and brisk and, of the three, the quickest to laugh. Walcott was tall and large of frame. He had an almost mournful contenance, and in repose an onlooker might have thought him sad.

Worrell and Walcott were in the same school team and were colleagues in the Barbados side from 1942 to 1947. Weekes came on the scene a little later - in 1945 - to add to the frustrations of the opposite bowlers, particularly the Trinidadians. From the beginning itself they established themselves as relentless, prolific runscorers. Each of them was a top-notch bat, although Walcott was a good wicketkeeper and Worrell - a clever medium-pacer. Of course, in his youth, Weekes had shown much promise as a wicketkeeper too, but, in the end he decided to give up behind-the-stumps work and concentrate on batting for which he had endless talent.

In 1944, Worrell and Walcott put on 574 for Barbados in an unfinished partnership against Trinidad with the former making 245 not out and the latter 314 not out.

While there was very little to choose between Walcott and Weekes when they had a bat in their hands, Worrell, like Indian player Viswanath, was a supreme touch artist.

Weekes is the typical light-hearted West Indian who likes fun and jokes. Everton Weekes was the leader of Windies 1952 hymn-singing choir with his fine tenor voice, and he is just as much at home round a card-table as he is when facing the best bowling in the world. For he is probably one of the finest bridge players in cricket, and throughout Windies 1957 tour, he had long bridge sessions with Clyde Walcott, Gerry Alexander and Bruce Pairaudeau.

Sir Donald Bradman, without question, was the greatest batsman in Test cricket, but it was West Indian batsman Everton Weekes who has the distinction of scoring five centuries in successive Test innings.

Weekes began with a century against England in 1947-48 and followers it up with four more against India in the following season.

The first Test century by Weekes was 141 in the fourth and final Test against England at Kingston. This century triggered him on to greater feats. He dominated the batting, his driving was perfect, and he collected 15 boundaries. This knock was the highest individual score in that series.

Weekes can be compared to Walcott in some ways. He needed a ball fractionally short of a length to make an attacking stroke. His cover driving, though totally unlike Hammond's in style, matched in consistent power and control.

Weekes most spectacular stroke was the square cut. He could hit to a ball pitched extremely close to the off-stump or even on it.

Walcott is one of the most versatile West Indian cricketers. He is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in the world.

Walcott (British Guiana) was born in Georgetown, Jamaica in 1926. The tall 6 ft 2 inch giant, was rated by cricket writers all over the world as one of the best batsmen of all times. He made his debut in Test at the age of 16 years in 1941.

Clyde Walcott went up to occupy the high zest of President, West Indies Cricket Board in 1989. He played in 44 Tests, had 74 innings, scored 15 centuries with a highest score of 220, for a total of 3,798 runs with an average of 56.68.

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