"I'm available," - says Carl Hooper

By Sean Devers
Stabroek News
December 30, 2000

Thirty-four year old Carl Hooper has ended months of speculation from West Indian cricket fans by announcing that he has decided to come out of retirement and make himself available once more to play for the West Indies.

The experienced Hooper, back to captain Guyana in the 2001 regional Busta Cup competition told Stabroek Sport that it was now all up to the West Indies selectors.

"I have informed the West Indies Board that I am available to play for the West Indies and I will be playing in the entire 2001 Busta Cup competition," said Hooper after his first practice session with the national team at the Eve Leary ground yesterday.

The elegant strokeplayer who made his first class debut against Barbados in 1985 and and hold his breath for a test re-call.

"I told the selectors I am no longer in retirement and if they feel I can make a meaningful contribution to the team, I am willing to play at any time," revealed Hooper who celebrated his birthday on December 15.

Hooper said he knew that many of his fans were disappointed with the way he left the international scene but said he had his reasons for his sudden retirenment in Barbados last year.

Although he did not go into details the former West Indies vice-captain disclosed that all was not well in the West Indies team and he just could not sit back and watch the destruction of West Indies cricket hence his decision. Hooper's reason for participating in the regional competition is to help some of the young Guyana players along. Hooper feels his short time of preparation with the team is not a major worry since he is familiar with all the players except newcomers Ron Matthews and Eion Katchay.

Hooper, who has nine test centuries said he was disappointed that yesterday's practice match was affected by rain. He is however very confident Guyana can regain the regional first class crown they last won in 1998.

A relaxed Hooper said he was looking forward to the Busta Cup although he admitted that lack of match practice was his main problem.

"There is no substitute for actual match practice despite how hard you train and even before the Red Stripe Bowl that was my main worry. However, I am timing the ball a lot better now and I expect to be back in top form as the competition progresses."

Hooper's wife in an invited comment said she was one hundred percent behind Carl if it was his wish to play again for the West Indies. At the moment Hooper seems at ease with himself. His aim he says is to give Guyana another first class title. It is a goal well within his capabilities.

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