Hooper wanted to play in World Cup

Stabroek News
May 1, 1999

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CANA) - All-rounder Carl Hooper has admitted he really wanted to play in the World Cup but made a mistake with the timing of his retirement from international cricket just before the prestigious limited overs tournament which starts in England on May 14.

Hooper, 32, retired last Saturday following the conclusion of the sixth One-Day International against Australia at Kensington Oval.

"I suppose if there is one thing that I am disappointed or hurt about is that I think the timing was bad, really and truly," Hooper told the Barbados Advocate newspaper here.

"After the last Test match against Australia would have been better timing because like I said before...to give somebody else a chance now.

We've only basically got a couple weeks in England to prepare before the first game," Hooper said. Guyana-born Hooper, who has been replaced by young Jamaican all-rounder Ricardo Powell believes the West Indies are still capable of winning the World Cup even though his sudden retirement could affect the team and plans of captain Brian Lara.

"It's going to be difficult because there are people like Brian who obviously has got his own ideas and knew how he wanted to formalise things over there (in England).

"He will have to change plans and if I put myself in his shoes and I had probably somebody like Brian retiring on me, it would have been disappointing," said Hooper.

"But at the end of the day I had to weigh that up against somebody going out there and being one hundred per cent totally committed to West Indies' cause and I decided to retire," added the former West Indies vice-captain.

Hooper, who played 80 Tests and 182 One-Day Internationals since his debut in 1987, said he had wanted to play in the World Cup before retiring.

"Looking at it, I should have done it (retire) after the last Test and given the selectors a chance probably to play someone in the seven one-days and then take him onto the World Cup, but I was hoping to get involved in the seven one-days and go up to the World Cup and call it quits after the World Cup but I just couldn't hold it," Hooper said.

"I would have loved to play in the World Cup and play a major role in a World Cup final or something like that but it will not happen," added Hooper.

Nevertheless, Hooper plans to attend some of the World Cup matches and offer the regional team his support.

"We have started to play well. I expect a lot from the fellows. I will be up there for a little while and I will go to the dressing rooms and support them and hopefully we can go all the way. There is no reason for me to stay away," Hooper said.

"These are fellows that I have probably spent more time with than my family in the last 12 years, so there's no reason for me just to totally shut out and walk away. It is something that I can't really do, you know," Hooper added.