Findlay stoutly defends new Windies captain

From Frederick Halley in Jamaica
Guyana Chronicle
March 7, 2001

CHAIRMAN of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) selection panel, Mike Findlay has stoutly defended the appointment of Carl Hooper as captain of the West Indies team.

Speaking on television here, Findlay told Jamaican cricket commentator, Simon Croskill, that the selectors have entrusted the captaincy to someone, who in the first case, can command a place on the team and secondly has been doing well.

According to Findlay, when you examined the 16-member squad announced last week, most of the players are young and inexperienced and haven't got captaincy experience at all.

"When we examined the squad, we thought Carl was the best choice. It is important that we look ahead at the long-term development of West Indies cricket and we are looking closely at the candidates who can be identified and exposed and trained as captains," Findlay told Croskill.

In this regard, Findlay explained that the selectors have already suggested to the WICB that there is need in the same way you have seminars for batsmen and bowlers, you need to have the same thing for potential captains and this is going to be done in the new year, so "we are looking ahead", the former Windwards and West Indies wicketkeeper said.

Findlay explained that taking circumstances of the moment, it is difficult to entrust, given the stage of our re-development, a young player with the captaincy as "you're going to put too much pressure on him".

He disclosed that Hooper has been appointed for the upcoming series in the first instance and "we'll go from there to see what happens".

"Naturally, given Carl's own age he has to be a medium-term type of situation with the view of identifying someone who can understudy the captain in the long-term and this is what we are addressing now," Findlay quipped.

Asked about Hooper's commitment to West Indies cricket, Findlay said it was an obvious concern to the selectors, especially when Hooper quit the West Indies team just before the 1999 World Cup.

"He has come back; we have had a long chat at a meeting last evening (Sunday) about his commitment and he has assured us about his commitment to West Indies cricket. He has matured a bit, he has settled down and his batteries have apparently been re-charged. Hooper has also had a good Busta Cup series and have led Guyana well and we think from what we have seen, he has shown commitment again," a confident Findlay told Croskill.

"Carl may not be the greatest captain in the world but he has given enough to see that he's capable of leading the West Indies team.

"Naturally, he has been placed under pressure at the Test level and South Africa is a strong team and he will have to pull out all the stops and marshal his forces and show leadership skills that are required at this level," Findlay pointed out.

The chairman of selectors said he has no doubt Hooper will do a good job, given his experience and the fact that he has been exposed to enough cricket at the county and at the club level in Australia and has also represented the West Indies in 80 Test matches.

As regards Jimmy Adams being relieved of the captaincy and his omission from the West Indies team, Findlay said that when you looked at the composition of the team, and given Adams' poor run of form, "we thought that he should withdraw from that level and refocus.

Sometimes you need that break from the international level to recharge your batteries, to reorganise your game and we thought at this stage Jimmy needed that.

We didn't want to reach the stage where we lost some confidence in the players and they lost respect and confidence for him, because it's important that a captain command a place in the squad," Findlay asserted.