Hooper non-committal on reversing retirement
- Due early October for Red Stripe Bowl

By Donald Duff
Stabroek News
September 6, 2000

Former Guyana and West Indies middle-order batsman Carl Hooper is non-committal on whether he will come out of retirement but the former West Indies vice-captain has confirmed his availability for the upcoming Red Stripe Bowl tournament.

In a telephone interview with Stabroek Sport from his home in Australia, Hooper revealed that he will arrive in Guyana around October 3 in order to fully prepare for the tournament.

But the 33-year-old Hooper, widely regarded as one of the most elegant batsmen to have played the game was tight-lipped about a possible return to the West Indies team whose fortunes have plummeted since his abrupt departure more than a year ago.

Hooper said although he has been out of West Indies cricket for 15 months his heart and soul have never left the West Indies.

"As far as West Indies cricket goes I can be available but I don't know what the selectors feel. If the selectors feel I can play a part, then I feel I can play for another three or four years and help the youngsters come through."

He added:"If the selectors see me as an integral part in trying to shape a side that can be competitive in three to four years fine, but if the selectors don't see that, then it is pointless to sit and speculate".

Hooper said he is free from any contractual obligation, adding that he is no longer contracted to Carlton who at the end of last season had offered him a three-year deal.

Hooper has been criticised in some circles for the way in which he announced his retirement during Australia's last tour of the West Indies.

But he said at that time he had other things on his agenda. He said he had problems with his then infant son and other "personal stuff" that he had to deal with.

"I really won't want to go through those things again," he said. For now he said his first priority is to play for Guyana. Hooper, since his retirement has always said that he is desirous of giving something back to Guyana and West Indies cricket as a sort of repayment to the fans.

Asked what he thought of the West Indies performance against England in the just ended five Test series which the West Indies lost 1-3 Hooper said he has not seen much of the cricket.

He said he has seen highlights of the first two Tests but not much after that.

"I never thought there would come a day when they would beat us. Even if a match were to finish in two days I would expect it to go our way," said Hooper.

Hooper said physically he feels well and he is getting ready for another summer of cricket. The Australian cricket season is set to start in October.

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