Francis ‘Mindoo’ Phillip is arguably the greatest sports man produced in St. Lucia. True, there have been quite a few whose achievements earned them greater acclaim, especially on the international scene. He did not have the distinction of even being selected on the West Indies cricket team. However, no other personality has been able to dominate the field of sport, and command the adulation that this product of Marchand had during his heyday.
For the period spanning 22 years (1947 to 1969), the game of cricket in St. Lucia and, in fact, the Windward Islands, was synonymous with the name of Mindoo. However, it was during the years of his career, from 1947, when he was first picked on the island side, to 1955, that Mindoo really sparkled as a batsman. Despite his exploits with the bat, he was often termed s ‘slugger’ by the self appointed ‘purist’ who, no doubt preferred the Anglicised sedate stuffiness aped by colonial cricketers.
Mindoo was able to complement his batting skill with all-round ability as a stock bowler, wicket keeper, and specialist slip fieldsman. But it was not only at cricket that Mindoo was outstanding. He also represented St. Lucia at football, both as goal keeper and left wing. It was Mindoo who was responsible for St. Lucia’s first win over Barbados. Playing as a left wing against Barbados at Carlton Grounds in 1963, Mindoo collected a pass, beat his way past a defender and drove home. The shot was so powerful that Cumberbatch, the Barbados goalie, ducked behind the uprights. St. Lucia won 2-1.
Mindoo’s commitment to sports and, especially the game he loved so much- cricket, is legend. Since retiring from cricket, Mindoo continued to serve sport in St. Lucia as Referee, Umpire, President of the Marchand Football League, Groundsman and National Cricket Coach.
In March 1979, Victoria Park was renamed Mindoo Phillip Park in his honour. Upon his death, he was buried at the park and a monument was erected on site.
‘Outstanding Sports Personalities Of St. Lucia’ By Rupert J. Branford