Sir Frank Mortimer Maglinne Worrell (1 August 1924 – 13 March 1967), sometimes referred to by his nickname of Tae, was a West Indies cricketer and Jamaican senator. A stylish right-handed batsman and useful left-arm seam bowler, he became famous in the 1950s as the first black captain of the West Indies cricket team. Along with Everton Weekes and Clyde Walcott, he formed what was known as “The Three Ws” of the West Indian cricket. He was the first of the two batsmen to have been involved in two 500-run partnerships in first-class cricket, the latter being Ravindra Jadeja.
As a player for West Indies, Worrell made his debut in 1947-48 versus the England team of Gubby Allen. Following this series he took up residence in Lancashire, England to play for Radcliffe in the Central Lancashire League and to read economics at Manchester University. He made his highest Test score of 261 against England at Trent Bridge in 1950, and was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 1951.
Following a successful campaign led by C. L. R. James, who was then editor of The Nation in Trinidad, the period of white Test captaincy in the West Indies came to an end. Worrell became the first black cricketer to captain the West Indies cricket team for an entire series, thus breaking the colour barriers then found in West Indian cricket. He led the side on two particularly notable tours. The first was to Australia in 1960-61. Both Worrell and his opposing captain, Richie Benaud, encouraged their teams to play attacking cricket. The first Test of the series ended in a dramatic tie. Though West Indies lost the series 2-1, with one draw in addition to the tie, they took much credit for contributing to the series. Such was their performance and conduct on Australian soil that they were given a large ticker-tape parade in Australia at the end of their tour.
On 3 February 1962, Nari Contractor, the captain of the touring Indian team, received a career-ending head injury from a bouncer bowled by West Indies fast bowler Charlie Griffith. Worrell was the first player from both sides to donate blood to the injured Contractor, which saved his life. In 1963, West Indies toured England. They were again popular, and this time they also won the series 3-1, and it was West Indies’ first series victory in England.
Worrell retired after the West Indies-England series. When he left professional cricket, he became Warden of Irvine Hall at the University of the West Indies, and was appointed to the Jamaican Senate by Sir Alexander Bustamante. He strongly supported a closer political union between the nations of the Caribbean. He was knighted for his services to cricket in 1964.
Worrell managed the West Indies during the 1964-65 visit by Australia, and accompanied the team to India in the winter of 1966-67. It was while in India that he was diagnosed with leukaemia. He died at the age of 42, a month after returning to Jamaica. A memorial service was held in his honour in Westminster Abbey, the first time such an honour was granted to a sportsman.
Worrell was the First West Indian to carry his bat in a Test innings.
Since the 1960-61 series, the Frank Worrell Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the Test series between Australia and West Indies.
Caribbean journalist Ernest Eytle (born Guyana 1918) wrote a biography of Worrell entitled Frank Worrell: The Career of a Great Cricketer in 1963.
In 1993, the annual Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Lecture was instituted at UWI Cave Hill by Professor Hilary Beckles, the inaugural lecture, entitled “Sir Frank and the rise of West Indies cricket”, being delivered by Michael Manley in 1994.
In March 2002, “to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Central Bank of Barbados” a limited-edition $5 banknote bearing Worrell’s likeness was issued.
In 2007, the Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Committee was founded to mark the 40th anniversary of his death (which coincided with the opening match – West Indies vs Pakistan, Sabina Park, Jamaica – of the ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies). In 2009, the Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Blood Drive was begun in Trinidad and Tobago, inaugurated by the 74-year-old Nari Contractor, to whom Worrell had donated blood after his head injury in 1962. In remembrance of this act, the Cricket Association of Bengal organises a blood donation drive on this day every year and the day is commemorated as Sir Frank Worrell Day in the state of West Bengal in India.
Mr Amarjit Tibb, founder of Tibb’s Frankie, named an Indian Street food “Frankie” after Frank Worell, his favourite cricketer. Frankie is an Indian wrap which was inspired after Lebanese pita wrap which Mr Tibb had in Beirut.