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T20 World Cup 2024: Remnants of three Ws lie in bad state

These three - born within seventeen months of each other in Saint Michael (Bridgetown) and brought into the world by the same midwife, would go on to become one of the greatest batting combinations the world has seen.
Last Updated : 22 June 2024, 17:04 IST

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Barbados: The cab driver says, as they typically do when passing a monument of significance in this part of the world, “…there is the statue for the Ws’.

You can see it from the road, from the traffic light in the University of the West Indies campus area, three heads as one, facing an ignored park. The monument is just there, standing in the sun with some people smoking, presumably cigarettes, milling about. 

You could’ve missed the entire scene, though. That’s how unostentatious it is. 

Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Everton Weekes, all ignored because the signal didn’t turn red.

A minor trek lets you get in front of it, them. The elements have not been as kind to them as the people of the Caribbean have. But they’re still in better shape than some of the other notable cricketers from this land, most of whom passed away asking for donations at street corners without a person to yield.

Sitting on park benches designed to let you soak in the greatness of the men who, arguably, made West Indies cricket what it is, you begin to wonder if this is the gravesite or if this is just a monument to honour them. There’s certainly some confusion there.

Eventually, those milling-about members tell you where you need to go to pay proper homage to the trio if you’re so inclined. Turns out not many locals care for their history, they’d rather mime the West, not live the West Indies.  

A short walk, a tiring one though for the sun is nasty this time of year, takes you to the Three Ws Oval. It’s a quaint ground with beautiful buildings of Victorian vintage sitting right behind. The venue belongs to the University but it’s open to all. 

When some of the bored groundsmen were asked if we could go on a walkabout, they were surprised that someone would even ask. "It’s for everyone, man, go on, pay your respects,” came one voice from the group. 

Once World War II was over in 1948, West Indies suddenly found a solid footing in cricket when Walcott and Weekes entered the team. Worrell joined them the next Test. 

These three - born within seventeen months of each other in Saint Michael (Bridgetown) and brought into the world by the same midwife, would go on to become one of the greatest batting combinations the world has seen. 

West Indies had had George Headley’s brilliance to live on for a while, this was something else, this was the Beatles before the Beatles. Worrell would score nearly four thousand runs in 51 Tests. Walcott would get nearly four thousand runs in 44 Tests. Weekes would have little over four thousand runs in 48 Tests.

The reverence for them, however, would be because of how they conducted themselves in the world. They were the ambassadors for a struggling Caribbean, but in years to come, they became the ambassadors for cricket in the world.

That, besides the Barbadian touch, is what kept them together on the field as comrades, off the field as friends, and in death as neighbours.

Walking up the hill at the Oval, you can’t tell that there are three people buried there. In fact, students in the college, residents of the ‘Worrell Hall’, are not aware of this gravesite. 

Massive stumps, the size of a two-storey building, get your attention, as do the achievement plaques on the staircase leading to the stumps, but you don’t think someone is buried there, in the open. 

Eventually, push aside some shrubbery inside the somewhat enclosed area, and you’ll see Sir Worrell’s tombstone. But, where is Worrell’s bust? Where is Weekes? Where is Walcott?

The bust, which was once the landmark to get to the grave, is now gone. Nobody knows what happened to it, at least not the people around, but Weekes and Walcott haven’t left Worrell’s side. 

Flanking Worrell are the simpler, almost unseen, tombs of Weekes and Walcott. Being the first black captain of the West Indies comes with some privileges, even in your passing. 

Sitting on the metal benches in that open-air mausoleum, though, you wonder what their greatness meant. To a generation which barely remembers what yesterday was, these men are all but ghosts. Greats, but ghosts nevertheless, and you can feel them in the air.

We pay our respects.

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Published 22 June 2024, 17:04 IST

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