Four decades after suffering a near-fatal skull injury while ducking into a bouncer in a tour game, former India captain Nari Contractor will visit the Caribbean later this month as a special invitee to witness the formation of blood banks named after the first black West Indian cricket captain, Sir Frank Worrell.
“It (1962) was not a happy tour, but I’m going there for a cause and will be visiting the various islands. I have not visited them after returning in 1962,” said the former left-handed opener whose injury, sustained against Barbados and West Indian paceman Charlie Griffith, needed a surgical operation and a steel plate to be fitted into his skull.
One of the men who donated blood when he was in the hospital fighting for his dear life was his rival captain Worrell who himself, ironically, died of Leukaemia (Blood cancer) five years later.
Reminded of this irony, Contractor, whose international career came to a grinding halt after the skull injury, said, “I suppose so. Man proposes, but God disposes.”
Contractor is also set to deliver the Frank Worrell Memorial Lecture, probably on Cricket and Technology, in Barbados.
“I dont exactly know the subject, but I think thats the topic on which I will have to talk about,” said the former skipper who is also keen to utilise the opportunity to catch up with West Indian players of his era, including Sir Garfield Sobers, Wesley Hall and Griffith himself.
Contractor said he had already met Griffith, whose delivery action was considered suspect in the 1960s by international teams when he visited India as a member of Sobers-led team in 1966-67.
“I met him in Bombay when he came with that team,” said Contractor who will turn 75 on March 7, two days before setting off on his fortnight-long tour.
Hat tip: Percy Kavarana.