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St. John’s, Antigua – President of the West Indies Cricket Board Dr. Julian Hunte today saluted Nevisian left-arm spinner Elquemedo Willett on the 40th anniversary of his debut for West Indies.
W illett was the first player from Leeward Islands to play for West Indies. He debuted on March 9, 1973 against Australia at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
March 9, 1973 is a historic day for West Indies cricket as it marks the beginning of the entry of Leewards players into international cricket and, since that time, we have seen some of the finest players of the game emerging from these islands – most notably of course being Sir Vivian Richards along with Andy Roberts (the first Antiguan to play for West Indies), Richie Richardson, Curtly Ambrose among numerous others,” said Dr. Hunte.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire West Indies cricket family I salute Elquemedo, who is a quiet, affable and humble man, as one of the genuine trail-blazers in West Indies cricket. He ensured that the door was opened to Leewards players in particular as they forged a new path in the regional game.”
Hunte said: “I am not certain that what Elquemedo achieved has been properly recognised and documented regionally, for his selection to the West Indies team exposed the wider region to the immense talents and skills which resided in the islands outside of the so-called ‘big four’ countries – Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago – where the selectors had historically cast their attention in seeking to constitute the West Indies team.”
On his debut, Willett bowled more overs than any other bowler in the match, quite a feat considering that his spin partner was the legendary Lance Gibbs and that Australia’s Max Walker bowled 51.4 overs in one innings.
Willett’s first innings figures were 37-11-79-2 and in the second innings he returned 28-15-45-0 for a match haul of 65-26-124-0.
Remarkably, Willett achieved a lower run rate per over than the renowned king of frugality himself – Gibbs.
Gibbs’ 61 overs in the match cost 134 runs at an average of 2.19 runs per over. Willett’s 65 overs cost 124 runs at an average of 1.9 runs per over.
During his international career, Willett featured in five Tests, taking 11 wickets with a best of 3-33.
Born on May 1, 1953, he is the uncle of former West Indies opener Stuart Williams and his sons Tonito and Akito have both represented Leeward Islands.
Tonito is currently playing for Leewards in the WICB Regional 4-Day and Super50 Tournaments.
Elquemedo Willett was 19 years old when he made his international debut under captain Rohan Kanhai and played his last Test in 1975 under Clive Lloyd against India at Eden Gardens in Calcutta.
The Elquemedo Willett Park, formerly Grove Park, in Nevis is named in his honour.