Calypso cricket: losing the series but winning hearts

The Welcome But Unwanted Men - Clipping from The Age, 1961
Melbourne’s daily newspapers gave extensive coverage of the thrilling conclusion to the 1961 West Indies cricket tour including commentary on the migration policy of the day.
Source: Courtesy: The Age

Cricket is a passion among many West Indians. From the mid-1970s to early 1990s, West Indies cricket teams were the strongest in the world.

Keen rivalry produced many thrilling encounters with Australia over the years. The traditional Boxing Day Test held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is a popular meeting place whenever the ‘Windies’ come on tour. West Indians in Victoria always turn out to meet ‘the boys from back home’ and each other.

One famous tour of Australia was the 1960–61 Test series. Both Frank Worrell, the first black man to lead the West Indies team abroad, and his opposing captain, Richie Benaud, encouraged their teams to play attacking cricket.

The first Test match produced the only ‘Tied Test’ in 123 years, and the subsequent close contest electrified the entire cricket world. The series climax at the MCG broke an international crowd record of 90,800. A ticker tape parade drew 20,000 cheering fans to downtown Melbourne to farewell the West Indies team, who had lost 2–1.

At the height of the White Australia Policy, these stylish, articulate and multi-racial West Indian players aroused the curiosity and admiration of the public. The success of this tour added to mounting calls to repeal Australia’s racist immigration law.

Image Gallery

Karen Greenidge and Brian Lara, Melbourne, 2006 Tony Phillips, Malcolm McDonald and Ivan Veerasawmy at the MCG, 1995 West Indians enjoying a day at the cricket The first Australia Day cricket match and West Indian Family Day, 1992 Members of the Caribbean community at dinner with Clive Lloyd