Always a cover fielder, my job was to take on his famous square-cuts
Weekes was a solid batsman. He particularly had a very good stroke through the covers when he used to bend his knee and hit. I used to always field in the covers. I had the best view.Updated: Jul 03, 2020 07:33 IST
Everton Weekes was a prolific batsman and got runs wherever he played. Against India he batted at another level—seven centuries in 10 Tests.
When I went to the West Indies in 1953 he played against us in all five Tests. His scores were 207, 47, 15, 161, 55no, 86, 109 and 36.
He was a solid batsman. He particularly had a very good stroke through the covers when he used to bend his knee and hit. I used to always field in the covers. I had the best view.
He was eager to take the first run (open his account). I knew he will try and take a single. He would take off after hitting and be half way by the time the ball was fielded. I used to try and hit the stumps at the bowler’s end and when I missed the stumps, he would look at me and laugh. In the first Test, he started with a 207 at Port of Spain.
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He was known for his square-cut, (but) it was not a square-cut, square-cut. Square-cut is played through point; he used to hit through covers because he used to bend on the knee and play it. He had mastery over the shot.
AURA OF THREE Ws
All the three Ws (Weekes, Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott) played in that series. They used to come in a line—3, 4, 5. Worrell used to come at No.3 and Weekes at No 4. It was like they were having a healthy competition amongst themselves. Worrell failed almost every time in that series. He had trouble against our spinners, Subhash Gupte and Vinoo Mankad. Weekes used to come in and get his hundred and there would be a big partnership between him and Walcott. Worrell’s highest score was 56, in the fourth Test.
Gupte had three types of deliveries—he used to bowl leg-spinners, googly and then a straighter one. He used to mix it up. He had good control over length and line, and good flight—may be Worrell couldn’t read him. Every time he used to trouble Worrell. But Weekes was a good all-round batsman; he played our medium pacers as well as the spinners comfortably. He had all the patience to stay on the wicket. He wouldn’t step out but read the spinners well, mainly relying on drives either sides of the wicket.
Though Worrell failed in the first four Tests, he outshone the other two Ws by getting 237 in the fifth Test at Kingston. At the end of the series, their captain Jeff Stollmeyer said he expected all three Ws to score in all five Tests, but in the end Worrell was the highest individual scorer.
They were all different. Weekes was a steady batsman, very calm and never lost patience. Worrell was more stylish. Walcott was very hard-hitting. Weekes would never hit a six; even Worrell wouldn’t, but Walcott would play the lofted shots.
Weekes wouldn’t talk much with the opposition but Worrell was a great friend. I remember one instance when Worrell was fielding in the slips and I was batting. Stollmeyer was bowling leg-spin, pitching outside off-stump, and I was trying to cut—my favourite stroke was also the square-cut—but I was missing it that day.
Worrell told me “let them go, they will come back home”. He meant let those deliveries go and automatically they will try to bowl into the stumps. No one would give advice like that during a Test.
The writer at 91, is India’s oldest living Test player and he played against Everton Weekes in the 1953 series in the West Indies. His son Anshuman Gaekwad was a former India batsman.
(As told to Sanjjeev K Samyal)