Give Hooper a chance By Pryor Jonas
Stabroek News
September 28, 2002

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I am unapologetically a Hooper fan, and my appeal to you, young man, today, indeed to all young men who love their cricket and their country, who also have compassion for the underdog, is to give our current West Indies captain a chance. All of us, without exception.

Whether or not we're of Guyana - once we're of the Caribbean and love ourselves as we do our cricket. After all, sport is the only valued discipline we can justly boast about in world history in our quest to demonstrate to all and sundry that we are really ten feet tall. Sport's three most valid components from our viewpoint have been athletics (remember McDonald Bailey, Herb McKinley, James Wren Gilkes), boxing (remember Joe Walcott, Mike McCallum, "Six-Head" Lewis), and cricket (remember Garry Sobers, George Headley, Rohan Kanhai).

That's the ABC of our sport, which has put us to the top of world history, and has deservedly won us world acclaim. Of these three, however, the greatest is cricket. No one, since cricket was played on planet Earth, has matched the deeds of Sir Garfield Sobers on the field of play - save, perhaps, W.G. Grace. I say "perhaps" because there's something within me that makes me always revere the pioneer. So I would, therefore, without the slightest hesitation bow to the doctor taking first place. It's his by divine right almost.

As far as captaincy goes, the records of Sir Stanley Jackson (let me remind you that once as skipper F.S. Jackson topped both the bowling and the batting averages in a Test series), England's Charles Fry and Australia's Warwick Armstrong are beyond compare in a period heralded up to this day as the Golden Age of cricket. These men were obviously a law unto themselves, and their exploits boggled the mind - especially when you take the time and trouble to test them, and find that they were truly authentic. The conquering Don also was a phenomenon, but so, too, was our - rather Trinidad and Tobago's - Lord Constantine.

For one must always start from somewhere, mustn't one? Both Sir Learie and Sir Donald seemed to start from nowhere, yet somehow both reached the pinnacle in their respective endeavours. All this, remember, was before the Second World War. Then came Frank Worrell - to my mind the greatest of them all when viewed from that most important of standpoints, captaincy and its resultant impact.

Yes, to me Frank Maglinne Worrell was a greater captain than was Clive Hubert Lloyd, and I would put them both above Donald George Bradman and Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, though Australia would undoubtedly mock at me, as would Antigua. Sir Donald and Sir Vivian have this one thing in common: they can boast that they never lost a Test series - at home or overseas. Frank Worrell was beaten 1-2 in Australia, and Clive Lloyd could never live down his 1-5 drubbing Down Under. Which brings me back to our skipper, Carl Hooper, and to the question of headlines.

I'm not saying that it was our Sports Editor or the Editor of Stabroek News himself who asked the question: Does Hooper talk too much? In fact I believe it was a typographical error. What I do know is that I will always be behind Carl Llewellyn Hooper. Why? Because from his very first entry into Test cricket, he's never been given a fair chance.