Sir Clyde Walcott – A Cricket Legend!
Clyde Walcott was born in St. Michael, Barbados on the 17th of January 1926. He grew up to become one of the famed ‘Three W’s’ along with Frank Worrell and Everton Weekes, all of whom were outstanding Barbadian batsmen who joined the West Indies cricket team in 1948.
Standing over 6 feet, Walcott was the tallest and also the youngest of the `three Ws’. In 1955, Walcott became the first batsman to score five centuries in a single test series. Walcott also shares the highest West Indian first-class partnership for any wicket: an unbeaten 574 for the fourth wicket with Frank Worrell for Barbados against Trinidad in 1945 /1946. In the early part of his career, Walcott also kept wicket for his country. Walcott retired from test cricket in 1960, and in 1992 became a match referee. He was elected chairman of the International Cricket Council in 1993, and in the following year, the Queen knighted him Sir Clyde for his services to cricket.
According to the book “100 Great West Indian Test Cricketers” by Bridgette Lawrence with Reg Scarlett, “He quickly won a reputation as one of the hardest hitters of the ball in the game and delighted in driving off the back foot”. As proud Bajans, we have dedicated a roundabout on the ABC highway to Sir Clyde Walcott in honor of his many achievements in cricket.
The roundabout is sponsored and beautifully maintained by The Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago and can be found on the way to the National Stadium. “Who is Sir Clyde Walcott?” – An innocent question perhaps but when posed to a Bajan (whether young or young at heart) – is consistently met with the same response. A twinkling of the eyes, the immediate comical raising of eyebrows (suggesting puzzled disbelief), a forgiving but welcoming grin, followed by the look of unmistakable pride!
Be prepared for this reaction as it tends to culminate in an exciting rendition of fond memories of a bygone era! Sir Clyde Walcott, a legend in the Barbadian community, is a true gentleman, known and loved by his fellow countrymen for his outstanding contribution to the sport of cricket.
To truly appreciate the value of Sir Clyde Walcott’s contribution to the Barbadian society, it is important to first understand that cricket is not considered a mere game in these magical isles of the Caribbean.
It is the national sport of Barbados and the West Indies, a vital part of the culture and entices thousands of visitors to its’ shores – thereby assisting with the sustainable development of the island chain. Sir Clyde Walcott fondly remembered as the youngest of the 3 W’s (Walcott, Weeks and Worrell who were also noted cricketers) remains immortal in the hearts of those who share a respect and passion for the professionalism of the sport.
At the early age of twenty, this talented individual made his mark in sporting history as an exceptional all-around Barbadian Cricketer who played for the West Indies Cricket Team between 1944 and 1960.
Recounted as a strong batsman with an incredibly powerful swing, a reliable Wicket Keeper, excellent Slip Fielder and incredible Fast Bowler – Sir Clyde Walcott was without a doubt an integral part of the West Indies Cricket Team. During the period in which Sir Clyde played cricket, it is recorded that he scored 11,820 runs at an average of 56.55, scored 40 centuries and 54 fifties with his highest score being 314 not out. He took 174 catches, made 33 stumpings and managed 35 wickets with a best bowling of 5 for 41.
Following Sir Clyde’s retirement, he chose to continue to contribute his service through the management of the Barbados and West Indies Cricket Teams during a period in which, the West Indies were revered in the sporting arena. Sir Clyde’s professionalism, selection of players, administrative capabilities and strong management of these teams are embedded in the minds of all who witnessed his sportsmanship. A noted Commentator and astute Chairman of the ICC, Frank Walcott was knighted in 1994 in recognition of his substantial contribution to cricket.
Sir Frank Walcott’s invaluable support, participation, growth, and assistance in the development of cricket have been passed from generation to generation – a point that is quickly and often loudly voiced by Barbadians as they share intriguing stories that span this historic period.