Francis ‘Mindoo’ Phillip – A Portrait From MemoryMartin Chandler |
According to Cricketarchive Mindoo Phillip played a solitary three day match, in Grenada for the Windward Islands against Ian Johnson’s Australian tourists in 1955, although the match was not First Class. He was clearly a colossus on his home island of St Lucia, but the claim of author and former teammate Stanley French that he was good enough to play Test cricket seems at first blush a little far fetched.
An aggressive batsman French describes Mindoo’s signature shot as being a front foot hook, something that certainly sounds exhilarating, if rather dangerous in those pre helmet days. At least he generally played on matting wickets at home, so the bounce would have been predictable.
That match against Australia was an interesting one. It is true the Australians had already won the Test series, and were winding down before the final Test and going home. But they cannot have been happy about conceding a first innings lead to the islanders. Mindoo, who almost always batted in the lower middle order, scored 35 (according to the scorecard, but 38 according to French) – perhaps more interestingly opening bowler Ferrell ‘Bam’ Charles took 7-45 in Australia’s first innings. It is the only match on Cricketarchive in which he figures as well.
In the circumstances Mindoo, and certainly Charles and others, were clearly good enough to play the First Class game, but as French alludes to in this charming monograph there were domestic matters in St Lucia as well as in the wider Caribbean that held them back.
Francis ‘Mindoo’ Phillip – A Portrait from Memory is certainly not common. It is recorded in Padwick, although I must confess it had escaped my notice until I saw a copy in a dealer’s catalogue recently. The price there was substantial and would put off all but the hard core collector of West Indian cricket literature, but I recently came by it in a bookshop in London for well under a tenner, so it is by no means unprocureable.