Windies need runs from young and old
... says Carl Hooper

By Ezra Stuart
Guyana Chronicle
May 19, 2001

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, (CANA) - Enigmatic West Indies' captain Carl Hooper has shoved aside suggestions that there is a need for more production from the regional team's experienced batsmen.

"These things are going to happen. You don't want to put too much emphasis on that," Hooper said after the West Indies salvaged some pride with a six-wicket triumph in Wednesday's final One-Day International at Arnos Vale.

Hooper, who distinguished himself on the wrong side of the record books by becoming the first home captain to lose both Test and One-Day series in the Caribbean, wants his team's fledgling cricketers to rise to the challenge.

During the five-Test series which West Indies lost 2-1, the experienced trio of wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs (52.83), former captain Brian Lara (40.00) and Hooper (39.77) occupied the top three positions in their team's batting averages.

They were followed by young turks Chris Gayle (32.60), Ramnaresh Sarwan (29.75) and Marlon Samuels (25.75) but neither Lara nor Hooper managed to hit a century off the high-quality South Africa bowling attack.

"At the end of the day, even if you have one or two senior fellows firing, we are basically trying to get us to play together as a team," Hooper said.

"This thing about having senior players perform and not the junior players performing, we don't want to go down that line," Hooper remarked.

"We want to have everybody playing as a team and doing well because there will be days when senior players won't score, there will be tours when the senior players will have poor tours," noted Hooper.

"We got to ask the junior players then to make sure they step up rather than the emphasis being placed on a Lara or a Hooper or whoever else on the team is playing well," Hooper said.

Hooper, who was controversially appointed captain of the team, after coming out of an almost two-year retirement, scored 358 runs overall with four half-centuries in his first five innings of the Test series. But he managed scores of only 5, 17, 21, 25 and 5 in his last five Test knocks while failing to get a fifty in any of the seven One-Day Internationals as the Windies succumbed 2-5 to the South Africans.

Hooper's form tailed off to such an extent that his last three One-Day outings produced scores of 21, 8 and 5.

When quizzed about his batting during the series, Hooper, who started the year with a Busta Cup record of 954 runs, simply said, "it could have been better but I am not disappointed".

West Indies tour Zimbabwe next month but Hooper is yet to be appointed for the short series.

Former captain Jimmy Adams and vice-captain Sherwin Campbell were unceremoniously excluded from all five Tests and seven One-Day Internationals against South Africa.