Last of the 'Three Ws' leaves the field.

AuthorGoodwin, Clayton

Sir Everton Weekes, the last of the 'Three Ws' West Indian cricketers, died in July at the age of 95. He was part of the great West Indian team that took on the best England could offer in 1950 and won--changing forever, the Black man's image throughout the British colonies.

Because sport is an experience shared by so many people, events on the field of play often take on a landmark significance. I was reminded of this by the passing of cricketer Sir Everton Weekes at 95 years old on 1 July 2020.

He was privileged to be part of an exceptional generation, and we are privileged to be heirs and witnesses of their achievements. With Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott, fellow Barbadians born within a few months and yards of each other, Weekes formed the legendary alliterative 'three Ws', whose performances against England in 1950, and the following decade, did much to change public perception of the Black cricketer, the Black man and the Black presence.

In 1950, the stars were aligned for history to be made. The Second World War had ended only recently and the globe was in turmoil; colonies of the European imperial powers, having seen that those powers were not so powerful as they had imagined, were now impatient for independence.

And exactly two years before this team of predominantly Black cricketers from the West Indies set foot on Lord's cricket ground, the Empire Windrush had arrived in Britain with more impoverished immigrants from the same islands to a welcome that was somewhat less warm than they had expected.

Then there was the venue, itself. Although it is named after its first manager, Mr Thomas Lord, rather than the aristocracy, Lord's cricket ground, the international headquarters of the game, had developed a noble lineage of its own. It was 'cricket' and to win there was very special.

England, too, were in an arrogant mood towards these West Indian cricketers, whom they seriously underestimated, in spite of their own team having lost to these same opponents on their last tour of the Caribbean.

That result had been dismissed as being a 'one-off' event too far away to be relevant. The English administrators were so dismissive that they granted these colonials only four Test (international) matches for the summer instead of the five awarded to more respected adversaries.

The newspapers were particularly scathing as to whether the tourists from the tropics had the skills to cope with playing in the cooler, wetter English climate. At first...

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