We're not scared of anyone - Hooper
Guyana Chronicle
April 16, 2002

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WEST Indies captain Carl Hooper dismissed suggestions yesterday that they are a poor side, saying they were ready to take on anyone in the world.

``A lot of people seem to think we are a very poor team,'' Hooper told reporters after the rain-hit first Test against India ended in a draw.

``That is not true at all. We have a lot of very talented players and we're not scared of any team in the world.''

Hooper smashed 233 for his maiden Test double century as the West Indies amassed 501 in their first innings.

India were 395 for seven before rain brought the match to an early end yesterday.

The 35-year-old Guyanese said his team had proved their worth in the first game of the five-match series and said he expected a regular improvement as the days went by.

``We played pretty well here. Our middle-order batted their hearts out and the bowlers were quite impressive,'' he said.

The West Indies, who had lost five straight Test matches coming into this series, have been criticised by a number of former cricketers, including former captain Viv Richards who said earlier this year that the team had hit ``rock bottom''.

But Hooper said although there were still a few areas on which the team should work, the side should not be underestimated.

``What was disappointing in this Test was that we were still struggling in finishing off the opposition,'' he said.

``Cameron Cuffy bowled really well, good line and length, and Mervyn Dillon did well coming back from a knee injury. He may not have bowled as many overs as we would have liked but we can do better.''

The West Indians had India on the mat at 275 for seven, still needing 27 to avoid following-on, before Rahul Dravid hammered an unbeaten 144 and shared in a record 120-run eighth-wicket partnership with Sarandeep Singh (39 not out) to dig India out of trouble.

``I still don't think our attack is good enough to get the opposition out twice on that sort of a batting surface,'' Hooper said.

But he said the team would have a better chance in Trinidad.

``The wicket in Trinidad is known to be more friendly towards fast bowlers. I think we'll stand a much better chance of closing out a Test match there,'' he said.

Coach Roger Harper said there were a lot of positives for the West Indies to take to the second Test starting in Port of Spain on Friday.

``We did not start very well but our middle-order showed the grit that is needed in Test cricket to prop us up to a total that we haven't got very often for the past few years,'' he said. (Reuters).