At the age of ten, I started to become aware of the grandeur of cricket. Watching live games sitting in the western gallery with my uncles was a thrill of a celestial kind. The players in white trousers and white shirts looked kind of unreal against the green grass of Dhaka Stadium (Bangabandhu National Stadium). The winter sun enhanced the surreal surroundings as cricketers, not on magazine pages but in real life, played the stylish game with great passion.
As we dreamed of cricket those days, the names of the great players of all cricketing nations remained etched on our minds. One look at a photograph, and we could say who the player was. So, we came to learn about the legendary 3Ws of the West Indies from the magazines and cricket commentators. They were Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Everton Weekes. Just as they ask in a quiz show, we used to ask our friends, ”Do you know who were the 3Ws in West Indies cricket?”
Naturally, we would try to beat one another in collecting photographs of the 3Ws from various sources. Our favourite place to look for sports magazines was ‘Karachi Book Stall’ located on the ground floor of the then Gulistan building.
Their records with bat and ball in Test matches fascinated us as we began to grow up and learned more and more about cricket.
Dr NS Srinivasan, a cricket enthusiast, wrote a nice piece on the 3Ws in The Hindu some years back. Here are the excerpts. “The debut of three Ws — Sir Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott and Sir Frank Worrell — about 60 years ago, changed the face of cricket in the West Indies and also the world. These three legends from the tiny island of Barbados in the West Indies made a significant contribution to the legacy of West Indian cricket, with bat, ball and above all their gamesmanship during the years 1948-1960.
The highest-ranked among the immortal three W’s was Weekes, who was the best all-rounder. He was an attacking batsman with a vast array of strokes. Weekes played 48 Test matches with a batting average of as high as 58.61. In the 1950’s he scored five centuries in five consecutive Test matches against England and India. It is still a Test record.
Walcott played an instrumental role in the first West Indies victory on English soil at Lord’s in 1950, scoring 168 not out. He played 44 Test matches for his country with an average of 56.68.
Worrell played 51 Test matches with an average of 49.48 and took 69 wickets at an average of 38.72, thus proving to be a successful all-rounder of the team.”
In the Test match against Pakistan in 1958 at Bridgetown, Sir Everton Weekes had scored a scintillating 197.
Sir Clyde Walcott, a brutal right-hand batsman, had a remarkable record with 15 Test hundreds and 14 fifties from only 44 matches.
Sir Frank Worrell was the first black captain of the West Indies, leading the side in 15 Tests between 1960 and 1963. As a batsman, he scored 3860 runs at 49.48 in 51 Tests.
Shahnoor Wahid is the Associate Editor at The Business Post.