On captaincy- Carl Hooper by Pryor Jonas
Stabroek News
September 1, 2001

Betrayal or Bewrayal - which when America's Henry Ford Snr in his 1919 libel suit against the Chicago Tribune declared that history is punk', he couldn't have seen that he was bewraying himself rather than betraying the cause of history.

You might say it was the other way round - according to your own vantage point - viz that Mr Ford was betraying himself rather than bewraying the cause of history. Now let's come nearer home to Carl Hooper - Sir Carl, the Bajans still call him - and Test cricket, West Indies cricket.

Here is a condensed Reuters' report coming out of Harare last month. "Appointed in controversial circumstances the 34-year-old Hooper is a generation ahead of his team but he has shown a growing ability to conjure match winning performances from his young players".

You will agree that this is a vast improvement on the told-its-own-tale. Cozier/Findlay interview sometime back when the name Hooper was not mentioned - no, not even once! But let's continue with our Reuters' agency's report. "Man-of-the-series Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Marlon Samuels, and Daren Ganga all look up to the captain with the kind of respect normally reserved for a father figure. The esteem in which Hooper is held by the young players was probably best illustrated when Sarwan referred to his captain as `Mr Hooper' in a television interview last week." Let's forget Sir Carl's response for the time being and note with some gratification that he's no longer `beleaguered' by the Press. They - the vast majority of whom beginning with a certain Michael Anthony Holding - wanted him to fail, but Mr Hooper hasn't failed as yet. Except he understands and comes to terms with the forces at war against him, however, he will. First of all, I was not happy with the West Indies skipper's response. Of course, he knew Ramnaresh Sarwan since he was a little boy. But he didn't have to let the world know this. And Sarwan is no little boy now. In my book, Ramnaresh Sarwan was to all intents and purposes killed Down Under. But I'm waiting to see if he has the character not only to re-surface, which he is now doing but also to rise again, which will take time and much doing. Indeed I doubt if Ramnaresh Sarwan will ever score a double-century in a first-class game let alone in a Test match. Our selectors have contrived to quench that flame in him. Marlon Samuels' position is even more vulnerable. Poor Samuels continues to be pushed by the powers-that-be, perhaps unwittingly by Mr Hooper himself! But Marlon Samuels should not have been in the West Indies side in the first place. Test cricket is serious business. I've asked my three young men to check the records given them from since Test cricket began and see if they could find a player - a batsman, not one who can lay legitimate claim to being an all rounder - but a batsman primarily who has played Test cricket without having first scored a century in a first-class game. I am certain deep within my bones that Samuels wouldn't make good in Test cricket. But most so damning of all were the omissions of Wavel Hinds and Leon Garrick in Reuters' Report. What I have done in past years for Rohan Kanhai and Basil Butcher, for Roy Fredericks and Alvin Kallicharran, - yes and for Clive Lloyd. I will do for these two talented Jamaicans. Certainly I did not fail with Lall and Butch or with Kali and Freddo - or Hubert. And I believe I will not fail with our two Jamaica greats. They're only great in embryo now but you will hear about them later in fact sooner rather than later. My batting order, you do remember how often I've repeated it is Garrick, Gayle, Hinds, Singulara, Chanderpaul, Hooper, Jacobs, a leg-spinner preferably Ramnarine and three fastmen selected by our - world record-holder who should not have been permitted to retire. It's not too late, Mr Hooper - sorry, Sir Carl!