Hooper denies quitting because of heckling

By Ezra Stuart
Guyana Chronicle
April 30, 1999

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CANA) - Retired West Indies all-rounder Carl Hooper has denied he quitted international cricket after being heckled by the usually supportive Barbados crowd during the sixth One-Day International against Australia at Kensington Oval last Saturday.

"I am surprised to hear that. I could remember playing against Pakistan here and having a really bad time and people actually sang in the crowd. I then went on to Antigua and scored 178. I mean, having bad times and problems as such, at the end of the day, you are going to have your heckling here and there. I suppose one bad day cannot put in jeopardy your whole cricketing career," Hooper told the Barbados Advocate newspaper here.

"You have to be sensible about it. To hear people even suggesting that heckling or something like that is going to make me quit and give up 12 years of good international cricket is a lot of rubbish," added Hooper.

Hooper, 32, who played 80 Tests and 182 One-Day Internationals since his debut in 1987, sent a statement to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) on Wednesday officially confirming his retirement following the announcement on Saturday.

"I just thought that if you are not motivated ... I don't think I am giving a hundred per cent and I think it's time to go. I hope to do something else with my life. I have made a decision and that's final," said Hooper.

"If I am out there, contrary to what a lot of people might think and believe, if my heart and soul are not with it, I cannot do it," he said.

"It is something I have been thinking about for quite a number of months. Since spending a month in Australia with my son and then coming back here ... you were sort of coming in the middle of a series.

"In the two Test matches, I sort of struggled ... when I say struggle I mean mentally to be up with it and then you always seem to think that it's going to come back and maybe the one-day series or the World Cup you are going to get that burst and decide again to play. But it just wasn't there," Hooper said.

"You sort of wake up some mornings and even dread going down to the cricket ground. You don't want to do any stretches, relax your muscles and play a game today, but I suppose you had to do it because you are in the side and you had to do it, but I think I wasn't being fair to myself or the team," Hooper added.

Hooper, who has represented Kent in the English county championship for a number of years, revealed that he has received calls from officials of a few Australian states sides and English counties.

"There have been a few people calling up here wanting to know `what are you planning to do. Are you still involved in first-class cricket or are you retiring from cricket, period'? I have said to them `Look, I have been in England, I have been in Australia and when I come back we will have a chat and see what happens'.

"A lot of these clubs basically still have professional cricketers under contract so I don't know. I don't want to start calling names and next thing you are upsetting people, but I'm sure something will materialise in the next few months," Hooper said.

Hooper also rejected suggestions that he was under pressure from his Australian wife to quit.

"The one good thing about it is that my wife always understood that cricket came first before anything else. It has been my life and given me everything that I have got," Hooper said.

WICB says thanks to Carl Hooper

ST JOHN'S, Antigua, (CANA) - The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has expressed its appreciation to Carl Hooper for his service to West Indies cricket.

WICB Chief Executive Officer Stephen Camacho in a statement yesterday thanked the former West Indies vice-captain for "his considerable service over 12 years, 80 Test matches and 182 One-Day Internationals."

"In particular, no one will forget the sight of Carl Hooper in full flow with his classical style, exquisite timing and graceful stroke play," Camacho said.

The Board also wished Hooper and his family every success in the future.

Camacho was responding to a letter received on Wednesday from the Guyanese all-rounder officially confirming his retirement from international cricket.

In his letter to the Board, Hooper expressed thanks to his teammates, managers, coaches and captains with whom he had been associated as well as the West Indies Cricket Board, the media, friends and supporters.

He especially thanked his homeland Guyana for giving him the opportunity to play first-class cricket and consequently for the West Indies.

Hooper said that "it had been an honour to represent one of the greatest cricketing nations on the playing fields around the world" and concluded by wishing the WICB and his former teammates continued success throughout the years.