Cricket: Deryck Murray: Worrell Gave Blueprint to Beat England – Sherdon Pierre | Newsday

Deryck Murray: Worrell Gave Blueprint to Beat England

Sherdon Pierre | Newsday – Trinidad

“If you wanted to be considered equal to the English cricket team, you had to be twice as good – not only on the field but twice as good off the field.”

Deryck Murray yesterday recalled the words of cricket legend and West Indies’ first black captain Sir Frank Worrell when they first met. Murray was speaking at History Fest 2019 held at the Alma Jordan Library, University of West Indies, St. Augustine.

The topic of discussion was experiences of cricket, colonialism and nationalism.        

The former West Indies wicket-keeper from 1963-1980 said, “I was driven by the fact that every person playing cricket wanted to play for the West Indies. The British had taught us the game, and the only way to measure ourselves against them was to beat them; and for most of us it would have been a friendly rivalry, but it was a meaningful significant rivalry.”

He creatively gave an example of what it felt like in his era to play against the mighty former colonisers.

He said, “When you were growing up as a kid and playing against your father or uncle, you respect them because you know your place but you want to beat them.”

Murray said colonialism has its disadvantages but he was happy it exposed the islands to the beauty of cricket.

He said, “There is a real linkage and we would not have been exposed to cricket in West Indies without colonialism; whereas for many people colonialism is a terrible thing, for me it is fantastic. But like everything else, you take the good and recognise the bad and adapt to suit.

“Fortunately, we have adapted cricket to our style and coming out of the colonialism we developed our own nationalism and West Indian pride that drove us and fuelled our desire to become the best.”

Murray spoke glowingly of Worrell’s impact and legacy on the field and off. Worrell, a Bajan, played 51 Test matches with an astonishing average of 49.48. He finished his career with 69 wickets.

Murray said, “Frank Worrell epitomised everything that we are talking about colonialism. He respected what colonialism has done for us by introducing us to cricket, rules, regulations, sportsmanship, competition and winning. Sir Frank was explaining to the West Indies team that we were all one, it didn’t matter whether you from Trinidad, Jamaica or fairer in complexion or East Indian origin or not – it was one West Indians.”

Worrell became the first black captain for the West Indies in 1960 and Murray recalled the historic occasion.

He said, “CLR James began the campaign for Frank to become captain of the West Indies team. He was accepted as the captain everywhere else except the West Indies. The person earmarked to be the next captain was Gerry Alexander, who made life easy for the West Indies board by saying he will decline the captain if offered and he will accept to be vice-captain to Worrell, and that is how he became the captain in 1960 and to me that is what started the “glory days” from the period 1960-1990.”

Murray jokingly reminisced on the day he got his maiden West Indies call-up.

He said, “I remembered in 1963 joining the team. I was still at Queen`s Royal College, I am going up to meet with the West Indies. I’m overawed because I was going to be in a team with Frank Worrell, he is the captain. I remember asking my father, ‘Do I call him Mr. Worrell because I am team-mate?’ If I was overawed by Mr. Worrell, I was equally overawed by being in the same dressing room with Conrad Hunte, Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Rohan Kanhai, Lance Gibbs and don’t speak about Garry Sobers, that was another education in excellence and brilliance in everything. Garry always reminded me, ‘You are lucky I wasn’t a wicketkeeper because you wouldn’t be here.’ Unfortunately, I had no response for that because it was true.”

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  • wally n  On 02/21/2019 at 4:51 pm

    I knew someone who was a close friend of Ivor Mendonca, told me this long time ago. When Ivor was first called to play for the West Indies, was first time out of Guyana. That evening got well dressed, when asked, told team mates he was going to see the big city. They all smiled and walked away. On his way our he ran in Captain Worrell, Where are you going, get back into your bed. Team mates ragging, followed him for days. Telling it as it was told to me.

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