Everton Weekes: West Indies cricket legend dies aged 95
He was one of the “Three Ws” — along with Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott — who put Barbados and West Indies cricket on the map in the 1950s.
Cricket West Indies paid tribute to Weekes, tweeting: “Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of an icon. A legend, our hero, Sir Everton Weekes. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of an icon. A legend, our hero, Sir Everton Weekes.
Weekes made his Test debut at the age of just 22 during England’s 1947-48 tour of the Caribbean.
That same year, he became the first batsman to score five Test centuries in consecutive innings — a record that stands to this day.
The record might have been six consecutive centuries had he not been run out for 90 in Madras.
Weekes’ relatively diminutive stature rarely stopped him from dominating opposition bowling attacks.
It was predicted that Weekes would continue to perform and deliver for the West Indies side, and indeed he did.
He finished his international playing career in 1958 having amassed 4,455 Test runs at an average of 58.61 and 15 centuries. Weekes’ average remains in the top 10 career averages for a player with more than 4,000 runs.
Race and Barriers
Weekes was born into a world still rife with systemic and societal racism.
Even after his illustrious playing career was over Weekes faced discrimation.
On a travel day, Weekes joined his white teammates for a drink at a Gwelo bar but was individually told on arrival, “Get out, you know where your bar is.”
Weekes and former West Indies teammate Rohan Kanhai threatened to abandon the tour but remained after an apology from officials in government.
The discrimination didn’t stop there and, although Weekes was said to be a mild-mannered and quiet person, he was unafraid to stand up to racism.
While denied by officials at the time, a game against a local side in Gwelo — now known as Gweru in Zimbabwe — was moved from a ground in the white area to a substandard ground in the black area due to Weekes’ and Kanhai’s presence in the touring side.
A white local approached the Bajan great before the game, barking: “Say you there … Weekes, I know you’re going to give us a first-class performance, aren’t you?” all while wagging his finger.
The then-42-year old replied: “Well, as this is a second-class venue, it’ll be a second-class performance.”
Weekes proceeded to purposefully top-edge his first ball and walked off without waiting to see if he had been caught out.
Weekes suffered a heart attack in June last year but rallied to see his 95th birthday in February this year.
It has been announced that both England and the West Indies will sport the Black Lives Matter logo on their shirts during the series.