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sir frank worrel
Sir Frank Worrell Was a man blessed wit many rare gifts of character who inspired friendship and admiration in all who were fortunate to come into contact with him. Born in Barbados he found early fame as an international cricketer representing Barbados when still a schoolboy and later sharing in two world record batting partnership. With cricket the major sport in the West Indies Worrell had already marked himself as someone special for the future. Yet he refused to live in Barbados as he found racialism there too confining and he was deeply insulted when he was offered the same job as a white person, and although he was better qualified, he was offered just half the salary of what the white person was offered. Worrell left Barbados and adopted Jamaica, while Jamaica was also keen to adopt him. Worrell duly played cricket for the West Indies and made his mark as one of the most elegant of batsman ever, and he was also a very good bowler. The West Indies Cricket Board, which was dominated by white West Indian businessman, who were very often racist, disliked Worrell due to his egalitarian nature Worrell had refused to represent the West Indies when the pay offered him was insulting, and when he later found out he was being better paid than the other cricketers, he immediately protested and insisted that their pay be raised to the same level as his. This of course pleased the players whom he later advised prior to negotiations with the Board. Worrell concern for the other players endeared his to them while antagonising the Board. When Frank Worrell should have been given the captaincy of the West Indies team, the Board who had never appointed a black man to lead the team to either England or Australia, appointed instead Jerry Alexander, a light skinned near white Jamaican, who in comparison to Worrell was grossly inexperienced and inadequate. C.L.R James was then editor of the Nation newspaper in Trinidad and began to campaign in the newspaper Alexander’s appointed, his first article on the front page began with banner headlines screaming ‘Alexander Must Go’ James waged the campaign relentlessly and all could see the injustice being done to Worrell. Eventually the Board capitulated and finally appointed Worrell to lead the West Indies to Australia with Alexander as vice-captain. The tour under Worrell’s leadership was the greatest success of any tour in the history of the Test, the contests being hard and close and the cricket being exciting, so much so that it was said Worrell again, initiated the golden age of cricket. At the end of the tour in an unprecedented move, a trophy was named in Frank’s honour to be contested for between the two countries in the Test. And in another unprecedented move, in an unplanned spontaneous parade 500,000 citizens of Melbourne where the last Test was played poured into the streets to say goodbye to the West Indian cricketers. That has never happened before, or since. Worrell then led the West Indies on tour to England in 1963 where the series was just as exciting as that in Australia with both sides performing heroics the likes of which had not been seen before. Worrell retired and was invited to the West Indies by Sir Arthur Lewis to take up the post of Warden of the University, Sir Arthur did so because he knew that the students needed a role model and Worrell was the best they could have. Worrell had taken a degree at Manchester University, while playing in professional leagues in England. So impressive a person was Worrell that in another unprecedented move he was made a Senator in Jamaica’s House of Representatives. He was knighted for social work he did among the poor disadvantage in Jamaica’, and invited to tour India and lecture to Indian university student. It is said that seldom could they have seen someone so famous both so famous and yet so humble! Sir Frank Worrell died when still in his forties of leukaemia and his death shook the cricket playing world. He is the first cricketer to be given a memorial service at Westminster Abbey.