Ganga Hooper's proxy at ICC meeting By Tony Cozier
Stabroek News
July 15, 2002

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THE West Indies will be represented after all at the Test captains' meeting with the International Cricket Council (ICC) at Lord's in London today.

Daren Ganga, the 23-year-old Trinidad and Tobago opener currently leading the 'A' team on its tour of England, was yesterday designated by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to act as proxy for absent captain Carl Hooper.

Hooper is in Australia and, according to a WICB media statement, was unavailable "for personal reasons". It did not elaborate.

"It was unthinkable that the only vacant seat at such an important meeting would have been for the West Indies," WICB president Wes Hall said.

Hall said he was only aware of Hooper's unavailability through the ICC media statement late Friday and immediately acted to have his place adequately filled.

He explained that Michael Hall, the WICB's chief cricket operations officer, had been in touch with 'A' team manager Joel Garner and Ganga in England and with Hooper in Australia, as well as with the ICC secretariat.

"Ganga is being fully briefed through the written submissions Hooper sent to the ICC for the meeting," Wes Hall said. "He is a recent member of the Test team and is quite capable of participating fully in the discussions."

The president noted that Brian Lara, vice-captain the recent home series against India and New Zealand, was on vacation and unable to attend. The swift move has alleviated some of the embarrassment caused by the ICC's announcement that the West Indies would be the only Test team without a representative.

Australian captain Steve Waugh will also be absent but Test player Darren Lehmann, presently leading Yorkshire in the English county championship, had been named as his stand-in.

The other eight captains will all attend the meeting to discuss the running and management of the game at the highest level with ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, cricket manager Dave Richardson, the former South African wicket-keeper, and head of the anti-corruption unit, Lord Condon.

Former Indian Test captain Sunil Gavaskar, head of the ICC's cricket committee, will be in the chair. WICB chief executive, Gregory Shillingford, said Friday that the ICC sent personal invitations to captains, not to their boards and, as such, the WICB was not in a position to choose a replacement. The president clearly felt it important enough for the WICB to intervene.

What the ICC describes as a "comprehensive agenda" includes topics such as the image of the game, the volume of international cricket played, illegal bowling actions, playing conditions and the implementation of anti- corruption measures.

Speed, the Australian who took over as CEO last year, said it was "an important opportunity for the players to have direct input to the running of the game".

"Over the past 12 months the ICC has regularly sought the views of the captains on matters such as standards of on-field behaviour, the new umpires and referees panels and Lord Condon's proposals to combat corruption," he said. "That feedback has been important in shaping decisions made by the ICC in recent times."

"We recognise that captains should have direct input into how the game is played and managed, and this meeting provides the opportunity for that dialogue to take place with the majority of the team leaders present," he added.