RIP Everton Weekes: A look at his cherished memories from 1948-49 tour of India
In the book, Mastering The Craft, written in collaboration with Hilary McD Beckles, Weekes recollected the long train journeys on the India tour and the wonderful receptions the team got each time they alighted from trains
Sir Everton DeCourcey Weekes, the legendary West Indian batsman, who died in Barbados on Wednesday at 95 due to a heart attack, cherished his memories of the 1948-49 tour of India.
It was a series in which Weekes plundered 779 runs at an amazing average of 111.29. After taking four consecutive centuries off the Indians at Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, he was run out for 90 at Chennai where West Indies won their only Test in the five-match series.
The last three-figure knock was his fifth on the trot since he scored 141 in the last Test of the 1947-48 series against England at Kingston.
In the book, Mastering The Craft, written in collaboration with Hilary McD Beckles (published by Universities of the Caribbean press Inc in 2007), Weekes recollected the long train journeys on the India tour and the wonderful receptions the team got each time they alighted from trains.
On his near-unbelievable run of scores during the tour, he said: “I was in a groove and all the [body] parts were moving together - eyes, wrist, feet and shoulders. I was a touch player and needed to feel the inner-connection of these parts. Once they came together, and I felt like a finely tuned engine, I became confident. I worked very hard at creating this condition of mind and body.”
His teammate on that tour of India. Jeff Stollmeyer came up with a delightful anecdote in his book, Everything Under the Sun (published by Stanley Paul in 1983). In a game against North Zone at Patiala, Weekes was padded up and enquired with teammate Allan Rae as to what then India captain Lala Amarnath bowled. Rae replied: “Inswerve, back from leg, outswerve, back from off.” Weekes took off his pads and said, “I can’t play that. Skipper [John Goddard] ask someone else to go in next.”
Ultimately, Weekes had to go out to bat at the fall of the fifth wicket and stayed unbeaten with 57 at the end of the day. The following day, according to Stollmeyer, he cracked a century before lunch and Amarnath ended up with figures of 0-93. However, Stollmeyer further wrote: “Amarnath got his own back, for he was undefeated with 223 in the second innings, an innings which saved his team from defeat.”
Lala’s son Mohinder was delighted to hear this story and said that his departed father would often talk about the three Ws - Weekes, Worrell and Walcott.
In Cricket Replayed (published by Thacker & Co in 1964), Vijay Hazare, the batting stalwart, who scored 543 runs in that 1948-49 series, wrote that Weekes’ half-cut, half-drive was a stroke worth going miles to see.
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