Kensington Oval Cricket Ground
Kensington – there’s something very regal about the name – and this is without doubt the jewel in the Windies’ cricketing crown. It all began in 1882 when the Pickwick Club was formed. And from these pleasingly Dickensian beginnings the Oval has grown to host 28,000. A ‘Mecca’ for West Indian cricketing fans, Kensington Oval underwent a facelift for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. It provided a magnificent backdrop for the final between Sri Lanka and Australia. In 2010, England also triumphed here to clinch the World Twenty20 trophy, Kieswetter and Pietersen combining to see off the Aussies. The new Oval – gleaming and contemporary – does make a nod to the past. The Worrell, Weekes and Walcott Stand is named in honour of the Three Ws.
WWW – a worldwide phenomenon
Decades before the internet, three groundbreaking Ws brought the cricketing world together in wonder.
Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Everton Weekes powered the Windies rise to prominence in the 1950s. Their contribution was not just with the bat and ball but in breaking the race barrier imposed on West Indian cricket.
Following a determined newspaper campaign, Frank Worrell became the first black player to captain the West Indies. He led his team on tours to Australia and India which became renowned for an attacking, exuberant style of play. Even when they didn’t win they were feted by the crowds and the public. Worrell went on to manage the West Indian team but died all too young from leukaemia in 1967.
Everton Weekes epitomises the rags to riches story. Born in the shadow of Kensington Oval his family lived in poverty. He wasn’t even allowed to play for his local team as they were all white. So Everton – yes, his dad was a football fan – let his cricketing skills do the talking. From 1948 to 1957 Weekes notched up 10,000 first-class runs. His test average was 97.92.
In 1950, Sir Clyde Walcott’s 168 in the 2nd Test at Lord’s helped the team to its first Test victory over England. It was a crucial innings in what would also be the Windies first series win. Walcott was Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1958 – capping a decade of cricketing perfection. He would later rise through the administrative ranks to become the first non-English, non-white to chair the International Cricket Council.
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Last updated April 30th, 2019