Famous West Indies batsman Frank Worrell views on the tour of Australia in 1960–61. We decided on our Australian tour, after the experience of 1957, that there should be a rota in which each player was given a fair crack of the whip.
The idea that every player picked to represent the West Indies had the potential to be a Test player affected us. There was no reason for us to establish a first team within the team for what were considered important matches, thereby giving the less experienced players an inferiority complex. Each player had been selected to represent the West Indies and should be capable of holding his own against the best the Australians could produce.
This was our policy on the tour of Australia in 1960–61, and with this mindset set, we selected the first team. The others just evolved. The teams were selected on form, and throughout the tour, the results were satisfying. I am sure the factor responsible for this was that the players all realized they were having a fair crack. The tour ended on a very happy note.
We found that in virtually every spot we went to and every party we attended, there were within the team no suggestions of factions and no show of insularity. Our players were living in absolute harmony no matter what islands they came from, something we had never experienced before. On previous tours, Barbadians seemed to stick together, as did players from Trinidad, Jamaica, and British Guiana.
We cut across all that. We were a team, with emphasis added. It was a delight to notice that when any one player organized a party, he never thought of inviting only players from his own island to the exclusion of others. He would come into the dressing room or hotel lobby and ask the first half-dozen players he saw whether they were interested in a party, and all went off fabulously well. So much for the off-the-field experiences.
The tour was the most enjoyable one we have ever played on. Richie Benaud, as the opposing captain, was quite willing to accept any challenge that was thrown at him, and vice versa. The most pleasing thing was that there was never a defensive field set at any stage of the tour. The accent was on positive cricket. This is what I mean by positive cricket. Take field-placing, for instance. There is a kind of field-placing in which, if the batsman wants to see a blade of grass, he has to look over a fieldsman’s shoulder.
This is attacking cricket, if you like. Save The defensive type of field-placing has players dotted around the boundary. But there is a stage between attacking and defensive field—a place where a batsman thinks he sees a gap in the field. This is the sort of challenge by the bowler and the opposing captain that induces a batsman to attempt to pierce the field and gives the bowler a chance of getting him out.
You lure the batsman by this challenge into attempting to pierce the field and make sure that the batsman does not become despondent by seeing half a dozen men on the boundary and knowing that every powerfully executed shot is merely a possible single. You induce the batsman to pierce the field, and if, in the course of time, he gets a bit casual about it, he soon finds himself back in the pavilion.
This was the case throughout the tour of Australia in 1960–61. The Australians are punishing, aggressive batsmen. The West Indians go for their shots, and here we had two teams who enjoyed the idea of making shots. It is now history that in the first Test, we achieved a famous tie test match at Brisbane. The second at MCG, we lost. Then, in Sydney, we won. The fourth at Adelaide was a controversial draw. The final Test went to Australia by a narrow margin of two wickets, and many cricketing legends say that the West Indies achieved a moral victory.
Indeed, the West Indies tour to Australia in 1960–61 was a wonderful experience. At no stage did we hear any one player say he would be glad to get back home. Such was the hospitality showered upon us that at the end of the tour, many of the players were seen with tears in their eyes, myself included. Our fabulous send-off was so much in keeping with the spirit of the tour, and I am sure many of us regret that we shall never see Australia again as players.
Read More: Frank Worrell – The Man Who United West Indies Cricket
Frank Worrell on the tour of Australia in 1960–61
Frank Worrell on the tour of Australia in 1960–61