This spell of discrimination was only broken when the Barbadian Sir Frank Worrell was appointed to the post for the 1960-1961 series against Australia. Though West Indies lost the hard fought series, the team was given a heroes send off by the Australian people as hundreds of thousands lined the streets of Melbourne to bid farewell to the West Indians.
Worrell is often referred to as an icon of and father of West Indies cricket for being the first black man to lead the team and destroying the myth that a man of African heritage was not capable of leading the team.
Worrell would move on though to make history, for his outstanding leadership, remarkable cricketing abilities but more so for his humanitarian service.
These features of Worrell were displayed at a match against India in 1962 at the Kensington Oval, Barbados, when Sir Frank was the first to donate blood to Nari Contractor, then captain of the Indian Cricket Team, after he was felled by a bouncer by Charlie Griffith.
To commemorate this humanitarian gesture there is an annual blood drive held in West Bengal in Sir Frank Worrell’s name. The University of the West Indies also pays tribute to Sir Frank by hosting a blood drive in a UWI territory every year. This year St. Kitts & Nevis will host the Blood Drive on May 28, with the kind support of the Ministry of Health. The Blood Drive will take place from 10:00AM – 1:00PM at the UWI Open Campus, the Gardens, Basseterre.
The Frank Worrell Blood Drive started in the State of West Bengal India in commemoration of Sir Frank’s generous gesture in donating blood and getting his West Indian cricket team mates to do the same. Nationals of St. Kitts & Nevis are now being encouraged to follow in the Legendary West Indian Cricketer’s footsteps and use this opportunity to support our brothers and sisters in need.
Sir Frank Mortimer Maglinne Worrell was born on August 1, 1924 and died in Jamaica on 13 March 1967.