Hooper is an icon of collective delusion
Stabroek News
November 27, 2001

Dear Editor,

Another humiliating loss has been endured by the West Indian Test team. This was not an unexpected eventuality for me. Thus, I wish to plumb the depths, yet again, for the purpose of moving within the perimeters of the field. In so doing, I wish to reiterate a position I adopted, earlier this year.

At the time, I stated, emphatically, that I was opposed to the appointment of Carl Hooper, whom - along with Brian Lara - I regard as an icon of collective delusion. I advance this claim, in full knowledge that he enjoys massive support among his loyal fans who have hoisted him to the pinnacle of regional cricketing prestige. His elevation has been clearly taking place in a foreground of frustration where his closest Caribbean combatants have been unable to perform with stellar significance at Test level. I have also stated - and will state again - that Hooper's incapability of appreciating the significance of cultural transmission has thrust him within a realm where he cannot apply the transformative values of social circumstances within and beyond the field to facilitate team creativity.

Expressed alternatively, the Hooper culture has not been appropriated from the genius of collective improvisation which defined the culture of resistance that underpinned his predecessors' strategies.His culture is an arrangement deeply embedded in, and suffused by, explicit preferences for a paradigm constrained within an epistemology paraded in the name of Anglocentric fundamentalism and orthodoxy. He speaks in solidarity with a coach whose confining credentialism was conferred in a society where cricketing competence is neither a close cousin of ascendancy, nor one of its strong sustainers, sporting assertiveness. Hooper offers no convincing evidence that he has any formulae for using the reflective character of dialogue to engage the artfulness of that vibrant orality his predecessors had employed so craftily to institutionalise Caribbean supremacy. He is not the sole occupant of this paralytic trough. Among his company are framers of the Caribbean Cricketing Academy. It is he - more than anyone else - who must stand on the frontlines of failure as the major respondent, when public predictions of success made on behalf of his team do not materialise.

I, therefore, ask rhetorically: how can he even begin to neutralise the energy of South African nationalism which is not - by any means - devoid of residual Afrikaner pride? How will he even contemplate productive encounters with Australian arrogance which looms large in a foreground where John Howard has become the senior spokesperson for ethnic nationalism explicitly marketed as the antithesis of Australasian multiculturalism?

I am fully aware that our cricket will not progress if it does not move with the times. I am also painfully aware that advancement is a convenient gloss for a modern approach represented by that deceptively convoluted muddle, reductionist Eurocentric science and game plans.The power and the glory of West Indian cricket prior to Hooper did not, however, emerge from this muddle. It flowed gracefully, from wide open fields, well beyond those distant boundaries created only for the act of playing.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. William H. Walcott.