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Sixty Years On The Back Foot

Sir Clyde Walcott with Brian Scovell

Victor Gollancz

pounds 18.99, hardback

AFTER MCC, they are probably the most famous three letters in cricket, WWW, the three Ws - Worrell, Weekes, Walcott. They may not be a familiar trio to the modern generation, but their exploits with bat and ball held the post-war cricket world in thrall well into the Fifties.

Uncannily, they were all born within a mile of the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados. Spookily, they arrived within 17 months of each other, between 1 August 1924 (Sir Frank Worrell) and 17 January 1926 (Sir Clyde Walcott). The third man, as it were, Sir Everton Weekes arrived on 26 February 1925. Oddly, they were all knighted.

Worrell died of leukaemia more than 30 years ago, but the other two are still around and Everton Weekes has written a generous foreword to a fascinating book.

Walcott has done just about everything. From playing - despite one teacher's prediction that "you can't make a living out of cricket" - to managing teams, before rising to become chairman of the International Cricket Council, the head of the game's world governing body

There is a gentle feel to this book; it has the reader smiling as Walcott reminisces. He even dares to compare the three of them: "I think I can say that Everton was the best batsman of the trio, Frank was the best all-rounder and I was the best wicketkeeper-batsman".

They all played football for Barbados and were inseparable throughout their teens. It is all the more poignant then to learn that although Weekes was one of the pall bearers at Worrell's funeral, Walcott was not. "I was not asked," he writes. Those are four words which embrace a lot of pain.

There are some delightful anecdotes and one in particular which strikes an odd note, given that it was said a long time before the art of psyching out opponents became established.

Weekes had smashed an unbeaten double hundred off the Leicestershire attack in 1950 when he was admonished by Worrell. "You must not hit the ball so hard," he said. "You give the fielders no chance so they don't chase the ball. Hit a little less hard and they will have to run for it. Watch how quickly they tire."

David Llewellyn

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