Legendary batsman Everton Weekes, the last of the famed West Indies 'Three Ws', died Wednesday at the age of 95 and was hailed as "a founding father" of the sport in the Caribbean.
"Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of an icon. A legend, our hero, Sir Everton Weekes. He was literally a founding father of our cricket. May he rest in peace," tweeted Cricket West Indies.
Weekes was the last of a legendary trio of cricketing knights, known as the 'Three Ws', who oversaw the rise of West Indies cricket after the Second World War.
Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes and Clyde Walcott were all born within 18 months, and within three miles of each other in Barbados - and were even delivered by the same midwife.
All three made their debuts in early 1948 against England, were the middle-order mainstays of the great West Indies side of the 1950s - and were all subsequently knighted for services to cricket.
Weekes still holds the record for consecutive Test centuries, making five in a row in his first year of international cricket – four against India and one against England. His famous streak might have been extended to six had he not been run out, controversially, for 90 in Madras. He played 48 Tests, scoring 4,455 runs.
Worrell and Walcott, who died in 1967 and 2006 respectively, are buried at the 3Ws Stadium just outside Bridgetown, Barbados and a plot has been left vacant for their long-time teammate should his family choose to accept it.
Former West Indies captain Jeffrey Stollmeyer described Weekes as "a five-foot six-inch bundle of muscle". "There was no nonsense about Weekes, no tomfoolery. Once on the job, he was purposeful. His business was to score runs," said Stollmeyer.
"Playing strokes was the game he knew and loved best, and unless circumstances warranted discretion, Weekes would produce his smashing square cut, slashing cover drive, resounding hook and forceful on-drive for all to enjoy."
"Of the Ws, Weekes was probably the most ruthless run-compiler, and his compact build and high-scoring performances inevitably invited comparisons with George Headley," wrote Denis Compton, one of the great England batsmen of the era.
Weekes, then 23, had been picked to play in the first three Tests of the 1948 home series against a weakened MCC (England) team led by Gubby Allen but with a top score of 36 he was omitted for the fourth Test.
But when Headley withdrew through injury, Weekes was summoned. He arrived midway through the first day after the journey from Barbados and a day later crashed an England attack that included Allen, Maurice Tremlett and Jim Laker for 141, leading to a 10-wicket win.
"I have seen them all since Victor Trumper and including [Don] Bradman," said England opener George Gunn who was 71 at the time having played first-class cricket between 1902 and 1932. "I have never seen a more brilliant array of strokes nor heard the ball so sweetly struck."