Sir Everton Weekes, the only player to score five centuries in consecutive innings, has passed away at the age of 95. He was the last member of the “Three Ws” of the West Indies cricket team.
Weekes along with Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clyde Walcott formed a unit named “The Three Ws”. All three were remarkable players and were born just one mile away from each other in Barbados within 17 months. The “Three Ws” also made their debut against England within the difference of three weeks in 1948.
The West Indian was considered one of the hardest hitters in the cricket world. He scored 35 runs in his debut match and was dropped from the next two Test matches. The time, however, was in Weekes favour as Sir George Headley got injured and was replaced by Sir Everton in the final Test against England.
Sir Everton had everything going in his favour as he was dropped on duck and then went on to score his first century (141 runs) against England at Kingston Ground. At this time, no one knew that they were witnessing greatness and this phenomenon will mark his name in cricket history in his debut year itself.
After this remarkable performance, Sir Weekes was selected for the series against India, Pakistan and Ceylon. The West Indian didn’t lose the rhythm and went on to score four consecutive centuries in succession against India. The highest score among all five consecutive centuries was 194 runs in Mumbai. Weekes was about to improve this record by scoring his sixth consecutive hundred but due to poor umpiring, he was reckoned run-out at 90 runs in Madras Test.
Sir Everton Weekes was born in a poor family and it was his father who named him after his favorite football club Everton. Weekes’ dad had to leave his family for work in Trinidad oilfields for the next 11 years. Due to this Everton and his sister were raised by their mother and aunt.
Apart from cricket, Weekes was enthusiastic about representing Barbados in football. He used to help the groundsmen at Kingston and sometimes he used to substitute them as he wanted to witness the best players from close range. Weekes dropped out of school at the age of 14 and was not allowed to play for the local club named Pickwick as they only allowed white players at that time. Later, he joined the Barbados Regiment as it would help him in playing high standard of club cricket.
Weekes made his first-class debut while representing Barbados against Trinidad and Tobago on 24 February, 1945. The start of his career wasn’t fruitful as he scored zero and eight in his first match. The West Indian scored his maiden first-class fifty against Trinidad in the second match. It was his unbeaten innings of 118 runs against the tourists that got him the attention of West Indian selectors in the 1947/48 season.
Sir Everton scored six centuries - including five in succession and six half-centuries - including the run-out at 90 in his 13 innings. He took one less game than Sir Don Bradman to cross the 1000 runs mark in 12 innings within eight months after debuting for West Indies. Weekes is the fastest to achieve this milestone in Test cricket along with Herbert Sutcliffe of England.
In 1951, Weekes was awarded with the Wisden's Cricketers of the Year award for the previous summer's Test series in which he scored seven centuries, five of them were double hundreds and one triple hundred. The West Indian scored 2,310 runs with an average of 79.65, he failed to match George Headley's aggregate score (1933 season) by 10 runs, but equalled Headley’s record for the west indies of seven centuries on English tour.
He retired early at the age of 33 after playing just 48 Tests due to the persistent thigh injury. Weekes made a total of 4455 runs with an average of 58.61 in his Test career. There are only nine players who have batted at least 20 times in test cricket and have better average than Sir Everton Weekes.
Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clyde Walcott are buried at “The three Ws” opposite the oval in Barbados. There is a plot vacant next to Frank and Clyde but there is no confirmation whether Weekes will be buried next to them or not.
The cricket fraternity paid tribute to the West Indies legend, Sir Everton Weekes:
Cover picture credit: Cricket Australia