Frank Worrell donated blood to save Indian Nari Contractor's life
CRICKET: The game of cricket, though fiercely fought out in the
middle has its humane qualities. These qualities surfaced in no
uncertain manner in international competition where India and the West
Indies were involved in 1962.
Nari Contractor and his wife Dolly, came from Bombay to donate
blood on the Frank Worrell day in Calcutta.
Former West Indies cricket captain - Sir Frank Worrell is no more.
However, the true sportsman that he was and the gentleman qualities that
he had in him and displayed on the field and outside, will long be
remembered by all those who played the game alongside him in that era.
He was a gentleman to his finger tips and all countries that had
contacts with the West Indies in those early years will vouch for his
genuiness. Sir Frank Mortimer Maglinne Worrell is his full name and he
was born on August 1 in 1924 in Bridgetown, Barbados and died on March
13th 1967 in Kingston, Jamaica. He was a West Indies cricketer and
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, and is the only batsman to have been involved in two
500-run partnerships in first class cricket.
The year that put the West Indies captain Frank Worrell in the news
was 1962 when Worrell met the Indians. The sporting qualities of Frank
Worrell was brought to light.
The Indian captain turned out to be Nariman Jamshedji "Nari"
Contractor - a left-handed opening batsman whose international career
was ended abruptly by a serious injury.
Contractor had a unexpected beginning to his first-class career, when
he was called up to replace the Gujarat captain who got injured on the
morning of the match. Contractor scored hundreds in both innings of his
debut, becoming the second man after Arthur Morris to do so.
At Lord's in 1959, he had two ribs broken early in the first innings
by Brian Statham, despite which he scored 81. Later in the year, his 74
in the second innings at Kanpur was crucial in India winning the first
Test against Australia. This innings ended when he pulled Alan Davidson
who was bowling left-arm spin at that time. Neil Harvey at short leg
ducked and turned, but the ball got stuck between his legs.
Contractor led India to a series win against India in 1961-62 and
captained the side to West Indies the same season. This is where that
unfortunate incident took place. Contractor born on March 7 in 1934, was
hit on the head by a bouncer from West Indian Charlie Griffith when
playing in the Barbados match. The injury was serious and Contractor was
removed to hospital.
Along with the Indian players, the then West Indian captain Frank
Worrell also went to the hospital where Contractor was fighting for his
The doctors ordered blood transfusion and Worrell was the first to
donate. Later Indian players Umrigar, Borde and Nadkarni joined him.
But Worrell's donatipn went into history as ironically, he died of
blood cancer later.
Worrell altogether played 51 Tests, scored 3,860 runs, averaging
49.49. He led the Windies on two particularly notable tours. The first
was to Australia in 1960-61. But Worrell and his opposing captain -
Richie Benaud, encouraged their teams to play 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 the
performance and conduct on Australian soil that they were given a large
ticket-tape parade in Australia at the end of their tour.
While Sir Frank Worrell passed away after his magnanimous gesture of
donating blood to Indian skipper Nari Contractor, the Indian skipper
then Contractor has survived. Contractor, born on March 7th 1934, was
the cricketer who finally escaped death.
In the match against Barbados, he ducked to a short-pitched ball from
Charlie Griffith which failed to come up. Contractor took a blow at the
back of his skull and was unconscious for six days which ultimately
ended his international career.
He had to undergo three operations. But God was with him and he is
among the living as yet. Contractor, however, has one regret - he wanted
to play just one more Test after the injury, but the people didn't want
Contractor now lives in Mumbai where he coaches at the Cricket Club
of India Academy.
The Cricket Association of Bengal as part of its Golden Jubilee
celebrations, decided to pay homage to this great sportsman Sir Frank
Worrell in a befitting manner by donating blood on birthday of Sir Frank
That year 1981 Nari Contractor and his wife Dolly came from Bombay to
Calcutta to donate blood.
On that occasion Contractor said: "this is the best way of
remembering and paying homage to the great man - Frank Worrell." Nearly
450 people including some handicapped gave blood on that day.