Shock, surprise at Hooper's sudden retirement.

Stabroek News
April 26, 1999

FORMER Test cricketers Roy Fredericks, Joe Solomon and Clyde Butts all yesterday expressed shock and surprise at Guyana and West Indies all-rounder Carl Hooper's sudden retirement from international cricket.

Hooper, 32 anounced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday after the sixth match of the seven match Cable and Wireless one-day series.

"I'm surprised. It came to me as a shock," said Solomon who is the chairman of the national cricket selectors adding that he did not believe the news at first.

"He has left a void in the batting of the West Indies team. He was a good off-spinner and a great batsman. I don't know what sparked it, added Solomon.

Hooper, who has taken 93 Test wickets at an average of 47.01 burst on the cricket scene as a youth during the NORTEL under-19 cricket series and scored his first regional century against Barbados in only his second match.

He made his debut against India in the 1987-88 series scoring his first Test century in his second match.

"I think it will be a big loss for West Indies cricket and most especially Guyana. For the past couple of years Hooper has been captaining Guyana with success and doing an extremely good job," said Butts, who was Hooper's manager during last year's President Cup tournament.

"It came as a surprise with the World Cup just around the corner. If he decided he was going to quit, he would have been better advised to wait after the World Cup," added Butts.

Butts said he did not observe any sign that Hooper, who has played 103 one-day internationals for the West Indies during his 12 year career, might have been contemplating retirement.

"No! I don't think there was no sign. Hooper was beginning to enjoy his cricket. He wanted to lift his average knowing people was saying he was an underachiever," the regional holder of the record for the most wickets in Shield/Cup competition said.

Hooper has scored 4,153 runs at an average of 33.76 in his 80 Test matches.

Hooper, who has struggled since he re-joined the team after missing the first two Tests of the recent Cable and Wireless series, was given a rough treatment in Barbados during the sixth one-day international and Butts feels this might have been factor in influencing Hooper's decision.

"I think the treatment in Barbados might have contributed. With all that's happening knowing that is was where he was loved..the Bajans used to call him Sir Carl...when things turned against him all that would have helped to influence his decision, " Butts opined.

The fact that Hooper, who was vice-captain for the South Africa tour, but was overlooked for the series in preference to Jimmy Adams might have also contributed, Butts said.

"I think Hooper might have been driven to end his international career because of unwarranted criticisms at times, " Butts said.

And Solomon was at a loss to explain Hooper's decision.

"I don't know whether it was the treatment he received in Barbados or whether it was because he wasn't made captain (he was vice-captain in South Africa)...I don't know what is the reason for the sudden change.

"I'm surprised, really surprised...he such a great player. There must be something we don't know but it can't be anything cricket wise that he cannot get over."

Solomon said Hooper's loss would affect Guyana cricket greatly.

"He was a great captain for us the others will have to play harder now, take some responsibility now that Hooper is not around.

And former opening batsman Fredericks said the announcement came as a surprise." Yes, it came as a surprise. He was a young man, I didn't expect him to retire so early."

Questioned if there is a possibility that Hooper could come out of retirement Fredericks said yes. Hooper, he said was still a young man and if there was a place in the team for him he could always return once the Board could get him to change his mind."

Hooper has scored nine Test centuries with an unbeaten 178 being his highest.