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By Isaiah Chappelle
RESPECT: Umpire Billy Bowden (right) of New Zealand greets the legendary Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Clyde Walcott after the West Indies cricket greats shared an Evening of Nostalgia, organised by the Reds Perreira Sports Foundation. (Photo: Winston Oudkerk)

APART from sharing illustrious batting careers in early West Indies cricket, both Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Clyde Walcott, who formed the renowned 3Ws triumvirate with the late Sir Frank Worrell, said occupying the crease was the key to making big totals and technology could be used to assist umpires.

The duo reflected on their involvement in the region’s game in the late 1940s and early 1950s during the Night of Nostalgia with Sir Clyde and Sir Everton at Le Meridien Pegasus, Saturday night, presented by the Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira Sports Foundation.

Masterfully guided by longstanding cricket journalist Tony Cozier through the defining periods, Sir Clyde said:

“You aim not to get out. That’s the problem with some of the cricketers today. They play a lot of fancy shots and get out.”

Sir Everton said: “Many players today don’t know when they’re taking chances. Stay as long as possible. Don’t get out. Making runs is a habit.”

He recalled that in those days, when a batsman reached 50, a collection was made for him and he remained in the middle to ensure the collection hat was returned.

“Out of those collection, I was able to buy my first car. I don’t know if today’s players are commensurate with their pay.”

Sir Everton scored five consecutive Test hundreds, a record that still stands, and he was not even in the team with which he registered the first in Jamaica against England.

“I was called just a day before the Test.”

He had to travel from Barbados through Santo Domingo and arrived in Jamaica when the game was in progress. He said his first question was, “Am I still in the team?”

Sir Everton had not fared well in the previous Tests and he said the crowd was not very nice to him.

“But the day after, the crowd lifted me off my feet.”

He recalled that in those days, players were not so sure they would get selected, thus they had to always strive to perform well.

The batsman went on to score four more Test tons on the tour to India, which he said “ was not the best in the world” with accommodation that was not always the best.

“We stayed in a lot of third class places.”

Sir Clyde said there were long journeys by trains in which a lot of restaurant cars were not available.

“We took it as this was what goes.”

The 81-year-old Sir Everton said his name was given to him because his father like Everton football club, and he joined the army when he was 17 years, which instilled discipline in him along with fitness in his four-year service.

“Even adults need some discipline today. It should be mandatory that young men be in a place like the army. It helped me to keep out of trouble.”

Sir Everton believes that fitness is very important and considers it a part of discipline, recalling his days with the Empire Club where he practised from 2.00 p.m. for two hours, then joined the others for another two hours from 4.00 p.m., doing it three times a week.

He declared that his best innings was when he scored 162 in Calcutta.

“It was one of those innings, when you hit the ball and it goes where you want it to go.”

Sir Everton recalled that the “rivalry was electric” but the camaraderie was good.

“We got on beautifully off the field. That friendship lasted for a pretty long time. One doesn’t notice that kind of camaraderie in present teams.”

Asked about the dive in present day cricket in the West Indies, Sir Clyde offered that life was too easy in the Caribbean, with players getting into the team quite easily. He said there was a relationship between cricket and the school.

“Masters instilled discipline. They did not coach, did not know much about cricket, but they were present.”

Sir Everton said in recent times, several other things became more attractive than cricket, leading to a loss of players between 19 and 23 years - among a combination of things.

He was firm that attitude was foremost and that players were not at ease with the boards and other entities.

“If they are not content with what is happening, then they will not perform. If the head is bad, the whole body is bad. We have some talented players.”

On the subject of coaches at the Test level, Sir Clyde pointed out that the game has changed drastically and it was now important to get help from a coach to spot certain problems.

“Coaching is vitally important. In my day, the whole game was different.”

He said bowlers today are quicker, while those of yester-year, they were more accurate and the pitches were better for batting.

Sir Everton said: “The coaches must coach the whole person. Every team needs a coach, but you must have the right person for the job.”

On the question of technology being used to assist umpires, Sir Everton said: “If we have the technical gadgets, they should be put into use.”

Sir Clyde said: “I have no doubt at all about that.”