Clyde Walcott dies aged 80
August 26, 2006
Walcott passes away at his birthplace, Barbados © Getty Images
The legendary West Indian captain and allrounder, Sir Clyde Walcott, has died in a Barbados hospital. He was 80.
Walcott sprang to fame after the Second World War, and was one of the great three Ws with Everton Weekes and Sir Frank Worrell. He first hit the headlines in 1945-46 when he added an unbroken 574 for the fourth wicket with his schoolmate, Worrell, for Barbados against Trinidad at Port-of-Spain - it remains the record West Indian stand for any wicket. He was 20.
In India in 1948-49 he made 452 runs in the Tests, and continued that form on the historic 1950 tour of England. He struggled - as many did - against the Australian attack of Lindwall and Miller, but between 1953 and 1955 he had no equals. Against Australia he scored a then-record West Indian aggregate of 827 runs in a series, including a record five centuries.
A well-built and powerful batsman with a crouching stance, he was a savage driver and cutter, but also possessed a solid defence when the need demanded. His versatility meant that he was also a times wicketkeeper or first slip, and a useful fast-medium change bowler too.
He went on to manage several West Indian teams, and became a commentator and coach in his native Barbados. He was president of the West Indian Board before, in 1993, he succeeded Sir Colin Cowdrey as chairman of ICC. He was himself knighted in 1994.
"On my first tour to England in 1976 he was my manager," Michael Holding, the former West Indies fast bowler told Cricinfo on hearing the news, "and he helped me a lot early in my career. I can give you one example of what Clyde was like. On that tour we'd played against Hampshire and I wasn't very happy. I didn't have the best equipment for English conditions, my studs were too short, and I was feeling sorry for myself," Holding said. "Clyde could see this because I sat at the back of the coach on my own and he just came up and sat down next to me - just to have a chat.
"After I'd told him the problem he suggested a talk to some the county pros and find out about how to get some new equipment. That was Clyde, he wouldn't wait for you to ask him, he would approach you and try to help."
In 44 Tests Walcott struck 15 hundreds, and made 3798 runs at an average of 56.68. In 1993 he succeeded Sir Colin Cowdrey as chairman of ICC and, the following year, was knighted for his services to cricket. Arguably his career highlight came in 1955, against Australia, when he became the first batsman to score five centuries in a single Test series (827 runs from 10 innings, including centuries in both innings of a match twice).
He also played first class cricket for British Guiana between 1954 and 1964 and is widely credited with helping to expand the game to the sugar estates in Berbice.