Hooper turns down offer to play for Trinidad

By Donald Duff
Stabroek News
March 10, 1998

Guyana skipper Carl Hooper has scotched recent reports that he will be playing for Trinidad next season.

"It has always been an honour to represent my country ever since I made my debut in 1985," Hooper declared in an exclusive interview with Stabroek Sport.

"There is absolutely no truth in that rumour. None whatsoever," said Hooper, who on Sunday led Guyana to a 21-run win over the very Trinidad team at the Enmore Ground in a President's Cup match.

The stylish Kent and West Indies player said that he would like the public to know that he was approached to play for the twin-island republic but turned down the offer.

"I am very proud to be a Guyanese and to captain my country," said Hooper.

Recently there were unsubstantiated reports that the 31-year-old Hooper, who recently bought a house in Trinidad, was contemplating playing for Brian Lara's side.

But Hooper, who was this year appointed vice captain of the West Indies team, explained:"The reason why I bought a house there (in Trinidad) was because I could not buy one here."

Hooper said most of the houses he viewed were overpriced, suggesting that it might have had to do with his celebrity status. He also said he tried to get a piece of land but the plot offered, at Hope Estate, was not to his convenience.

Hooper caused something of a furore when he apparently defied orders from West Indies coach Malcolm Marshall and failed to play in the Guyana/England match.

He revealed that the problem was not playing matches outside of the President's Cup fixtures but was financial.

He explained that he has to pay his own way when in Guyana for all first-class matches which is very costly.

Because these matches leaves him in the red, Hooper said it was not feasible for him to take part in the Guyana/England match, as much as he wanted to do so.

He said the monies received from playing the regional matches he is required to play, does not cover his expenses (accommodation, travelling, meals etc) while he is in Guyana.

He however restated his commitment to play for Guyana - the land of his birth.

"Unless when I am on West Indies duties I miss very few games for Guyana," he said.

Hooper, who resides in the United Kingdom, said he was tired of being made out as being irresponsible and not committed to Guyana and West Indies cricket.

He also cited that because of the situation in Guyana, he is forced to delay his arrival to the lastest possible date and to leave immediately after completion of games.

"The situation has for a number of years been made clear to the Guyana Cricket Board and recently the West Indies Cricket Board," Hooper said.