West Indies cricket icon Sir Everton Weekes has died at 95.
“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of an icon. A legend, our hero,” said Cricket West Indies (CWI) in a statement.
“Our condolences go out to his family, friends and many fans around the world.”
Weekes, who debuted in 1948 and retired in 1958, scored 4,455 runs at 58.61 in 48 Tests. His is the 10th highest average in Test cricket history (minimum 20 innings) and he is the only batsman to make centuries in five consecutive Test innings.
That sequence was extraordinary, starting in his very first Test series, at home against England. He was briefly dropped for the fourth and last Test in Jamaica, only for George Headley to pull out with injury; then he made 141, despite early boos from local fans who did not think he should have been picked.
Those same locals chaired him from the field once his innings was complete. He went on to make 128, 194, 162 and 101 in an India series, then was controversially run out for 90 in Chennai, agonisingly close to a sixth-straight century. Weekes made 15 centuries in all, with a highest score of 207 (against India in Port of Spain, 1953).
Australian cricket icon Richie Benaud once said that in style, he was the closest batsman that he had seen to Sir Donald Bradman; indeed, so did Lady Jessie Bradman. Like Sir Donald, Weekes kept the ball on the ground, hitting just two sixes in his mighty Test career.
Alongside Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Frank Worrell, Weekes was one of the famed ‘Three Ws’ in West Indies cricket. He was knighted in 1995 and suffered a heart attack last year.
“A most amazing pioneer in West Indies cricket. A tremendous gentleman and a wonderful human being. He was literally a founding father of our cricket,” CWI president Ricky Skerritt said.
A West Indies Players’ Association statement said: “We salute a great West Indies icon; Sir Everton made an invaluable contribution to the sport, his country and the region.
“We were blessed to have him among us, may his soul rest in peace.”
The MCC said in a statement: “Everyone at MCC and Lord’s are saddened at the news of Sir Everton Weekes’ passing.
“He will forever be remembered as one of West Indies cricket’s finest cricketers.”
Sir Everton was the third-oldest living men’s Test cricketer, behind South Africa’s John Watkins and England’s Don Smith (both 97).