Holding quits TV job over Hooper's appointment

By Tony Cozier
Stabroek News
March 6, 2001

Michael Holding is so incensed over Carl Hooper's appointment as West Indies captain he has withdrawn as a television commentator for the forthcoming series against South Africa and won't attend any of the matches.

"I am fed up with all the rubbish that is going on in West Indies cricket and this is just the last straw," the great fast bowler turned international commentator said by telephone from Kingston.

"You've got to have principles in life and my argument is that you cannot give your highest position in West Indies cricket to someone like Carl Hooper who has shown such disregard for West Indies cricket in the past and turned his back on it on numerous occasions," he added.

"I feel very strongly about it," he said. "I am not interested in getting involved with West Indies cricket the way it is going. I'm not going to the grounds and I'm not appearing in television."

To the observation that he was giving up a source of for a year.

Holding acknowledged that Adams did not deserve a place in team given his form in his last two series against England and Australia.

"But if you were removing Jimmy Adams, you cannot replace him with a Carl Hooper," he contended. "I would have supported anyone who has shown commitment to West Indies cricket, not somebody who has dissed West Indies cricket on so many occasions and has shown interest only in himself."

Hooper returned to first-class cricket in the Caribbean this season after a break of two years to shatter the tournament batting record, take 24 wickets and lead Guyana to the Busta International Shield final.

But Holding said this was not enough to qualify for captaincy, only to be selected in the team.

"I always believe that every man deserves a second chance in life and sometimes even a third chance," he said. "But you do not elevate someone to the highest position in West Indies cricket just because they make runs and take wickets. They have to prove their commitment to West Indies cricket."

Holding called Hooper's appointment "an expedient move by the selectors".

"Because Hooper came back and made runs, it was easy to give him the captaincy," Holding noted. "But it is not an easy job to rebuild our cricket. The process is long-term, not short-term."

He said he had been asked what his position would be if Hooper leads the West Indies to victory in the imminent series against South Africa and goes to

Zimbabwe and July and wins the series there.

"I am hoping that they do but the end doesn't always justify the means," was his response. "You've got to have some sort of principles and some morality."

Holding recalled that he was also concerned when Brian Lara was made captain for the same reasons.

He said he was "saddened by the general malaise" within the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), referring to what he termed "the privileged treatment" accorded some individuals.

"Can you tell me how Brian Lara is included in the 13 for the first Test and hasn't had to play a match to prove his fitness while Shivnarine Chanderpaul and

Merv Dillon had to," he asked.

Holding, 47, who took 249 wickets in 60 Tests between 1976 and 1987, has worked with TWI television in every series in the West Indies since 1980. He has also worked for Sky TV in Britain and Channel Nine in Australia.