Hooper slams practice facilities By Sean Devers in St. Lucia
Stabroek News
August 16, 2002

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Guyana and West Indies captain Carl Hooper is not pleased with the practice facilities here in St. Lucia as Guyana prepare to start the defence of their Red Stripe Bowl regional one-day cricket title today with their first round game against Canada at the Mindoo Phillip Park.

While the Beauseqour Stadium is rated as the most modern cricket ground in the West Indies, practice facilities at the Mindoo Phillip Park leaves much to be desired.

Hooper said yesterday that it was very disappointing and frustrating that his team had been here for two days and had not been able to have a net session ahead of today's game.

The 35-year-old all-rounder who arrived in St. Lucia on Monday, said that many of the players are coming off a break and just could not hit form without proper practice.

"It is really disappointing and frustrating and even looking down the road to the ICC trophy, some of the guys have had some matches at home but I think it is pretty basic that we should be having net practice in preparation for games when we are in another country," an upset Hooper stated.

Hooper was also critical of those who administrate West Indies cricket.

"We are going nowhere and it is getting worse. Everyone wants to knock the players when they are not doing well but it starts at the top. I don't want to make friends or scratch anyone's back," Hooper declared.

"Everybody is quick to point fingers at the players but it is time that administrators are also held accountable when they don't do the job," he pointed out.

Hooper feels that the people at the top of West Indies cricket need to get their act together.

"What is worrying is that the World Cup is just around the corner and the ICC trophy starts the minute the Red Stripe Bowl is over," Hooper stated.

The Guyana team had to resort to practicing on the grass at the Mindoo Phillip Park yesterday and also had some fielding practice.

However the players complained that even the fielding session was affected because the ground was rough. The Beauseqour Stadium has two concrete and two turf pitches in its practice area but that facility has not been used for practice by any of the teams so far.

Eight of the 10 games in this zone are billed for the Beauseqour Stadium and the other two, including Guyana's game today, for the Mindoo Phillip Park which is located in the rainy area here in St. Lucia.

The Guyana team had only two practice matches before they left for St. Lucia and were delayed by a day after their BWIA flight out of Guyana on Monday was cancelled.

The team arrived here late Tuesday evening and had to wait for over half an hour for a second bus to arrive to take the team to their hotel.

Only one bus was sent for the Guyana and Trinidad teams (both teams arrived on the same flight from Trinidad) and the Guyana management complained that both teams could not be accommodated on one bus.

The team eventually arrived at their hotel close to 11:PM after the one and a half hour trip from the airport.

Despite the few set backs the Guyanese are confident of doing well and are not taking the Canadians lightly.

Canada who beat Antigua and Bermuda by 34 runs in the first round on Wednesday will depend on their spinners today to restrict the powerful Guyana batting line up.

They will hope that left-arm spinner Barry Seebarran and off spinner John Davison bowl like they did on Wednesday while the batting will center around the 37-year-old former Guyana player Fazil Sattar who top scored against Antigua and still hits the ball with explosive power.

Former Guyana captain Nick DeGroot, who now bats in the middle order, say he badly wants to get a big score against his former teammates while Desmond Chummey, Ishwar Maraj and skipper Joe Harris are also expected to get among the runs for the North Americans.

The Guyanese batting will be led by the test trio of Hooper Chanderpaul and Sarwan along with in form opener Sewnarine Chattergoon, Lennox Cush and Narsingh Deonarine.

Andrew Gonsalves should open with Chattergoon but there has been talk of opening with Cush and Chattergoon.

The test pair of Reon King and Colin Stuart will share the new ball today with support from leg spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo, left arm spinner Neil McGarrell and HooperĘs off spin.

The match is scheduled to commence at 9:90am and with rain expected in the area last night the game could be affected by the weather.

GBC is expected to carry ball-by-ball commentary of all the Guyana matches beginning with today's game.