BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - ONE month after three cricketers from neighbouring Antigua were knighted, a call is being made by a local cricket legend for the same to be done for Elquemedo Willet, the first Leeward Islander to represent the West Indies.
In an exclusive interview with SKNVibes Sports, former St. Kitts, Leeward and Combine Islands batsman Victor Eddy opined that it was time for Willet to be knighted in honour of his trail-blazing efforts.
“I, for one, definitely believe that Elquemedo Tonito Willet of Nevis, who was the first cricketer for the Leeward Islands to represent the West Indies team in 1973 when he played against Australia in Barbados, should be knighted.”
Eddy also remembered Willet’s first over on his debut, noting that it was a maiden and the Nevisian was greeted with a standing ovation.”
“It begs the question why not Elquemedo Tonito Willet. It has to come from the government. They will have to put his name up. Sir Vivian Alexander Richards was the first knighted cricketer in the Leeward Islands but, Elquemedo Tonito Willet, who was the first cricketer from the Leeward Islands, not knighted as yet and it begs a big question,” Eddy said.
The local cricket legend is calling for immediate action to honour the former spin bowler.
“Personally, I would really like to see that happen sooner rather than later. Some people may have other views as to those persons who they think should be knighted, but, for certain, Victor Eddy is awaiting Willett’s Knighthood.”
Nevis-born slow left-arm spinner Elquemedo Willett was the first man from the Leeward Islands to play for West Indies when he made his debut as a 19-year-old against Australia in 1972-73. He took two wickets on debut and five in the next two Tests - including his best of 3 for 33 at Port-of-Spain.
In recognition of the three recently knighted cricketers from Antigua and Barbuda, Eddy extended “heart-felt congratulations”.
“For the three outstanding cricketers of Antigua and Barbuda and also of the Leeward Islands as well as the West Indies, to Anderson Roberts, I Victor Eddy, who may have had distinct honour of playing against and with, say many, many congratulations and may God bless and keep you.
“To Richard Richardson, former captain of the West Indies team, many congratulations I also extended to you, and to Curtly Ambrose, many, many congratulations on your achievement of knighthood.”
Eddy called on the three stalwarts to continue to assist in the further advancement of cricket.
“To those three heroes of the Leeward Islands and the West Indies, it is my distinguished pleasure and honour to say a job well done and thank you very kindly. I sincerely hope you still can continue to help others who can benefit from all your great experiences.”
Elquemedo Willet played five Tests Matches for the West Indies and bagged 11 wickets. He also played 98 First Class Matches and had 286 scalps in a career that spanned 11 years (1970-1989).