Dattajirao Gaekwad - only living Indian cricketer to have played against Everton Weekes

Dattajirao Gaekwad, father of former Indian opener Aunshuman Gaekwad, was part of the Indian team that toured the West Indies in 1953.

Dattajirao Gaekwad

Dattajirao Gaekwad, former Indian captain, at his residence in Vadodara on March 14, 2016.   -  Vijay Soneji

Dattajirao Gaekwad is the only living Indian cricketer to have played against the immortal three West Indian ‘Ws’ in Tests.

A compact batsman and a brilliant fielder, Dattajirao, father of former Indian opener Aunshuman Gaekwad, was part of the Indian team that toured the West Indies in 1953.

Now 92, Dattajirao spoke about Everton Weekes, who passed away recently. “India had a good attack. We had Dattu Phadkar, Vinoo Mankad and Subhash Gupte. But the West Indians were formidable with the three Ws. In particular, Weekes had an endless appetite for runs,” Dattajirao told Sportstar.

Providing insight into Weeke’s batting, Dattajirao observed, “Even when leg-spinning great Subhash Gupte, who had a vicious leg-break, a deceptive googly, and plenty of variations flighted, Weekes would stay inside the crease and take runs off him. He rarely stepped out. He was such an organised player against both pace and spin.”

In the first Test of that series, in Port of Spain, Weekes came up with an innings of 207. Dattajirao said, “One thing I noticed was that he wanted to get off the mark, immediately. A couple of times I tried to run him out from covers but missed the mark narrowly. I remember him giving me a menacing look.”

READ | ‘A great player and a great man’: Sobers remembers old friend Weekes

Dattajirao added, “He loved to square-drive on one knee. That was his favourite shot. And it was very attractive.”

Turning his attention to the West Indian batting line-up, Dattajirao noted, “You had Allan Rae and skipper Jeffery Stollmeyer opening the innings. Then arrived the three Ws. Frank Worrell would come in at number three, Weekes at four and Clyde Walcott at number five. The Ws symbolised West Indian cricket.”

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Delving deeper into their methods, Dattajirao said, “Worrell was the most stylish of the lot. Weekes was a run machine. Both rarely hit sixes. All their strokes would be along the ground. But Walcott was different, He was the hardest hitter of the lot and hit big sixes.”    

At a personal level, Dattajirao found Worrell easy to interact with. “He was a classy man. We became good friends.” 

When Dattajirao returned from that tour of the Caribbean he took back with him a treasure trove of memories. On top of the list was duelling it out with the three timeless Ws.

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