Hooper set to deliver final rites on career
By Ezra Stuart
In association with Caribbean Star Airline
Guyana Chronicle
April 7, 2003

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CASTRIES, St Lucia - Sacked as West Indies captain but selected in the 14-man squad to face Australia in the first Test in Guyana on Thursday, Carl Hooper may deliver the final rites on his controversial career.

In a wide-ranging exclusive interview yesterday, the charismatic 36-year-old Guyanese revealed he will issue his second press statement in a week and hinted it could draw the curtain on his international cricketing career.

“The one decision now that must be made is exactly where do I go from here,” Hooper told Chronicle Sport here yesterday after participating in St Lucia’s historic Double Wicket World Cup.

“Obviously, I am more than happy to be selected but before I came back and played the Carib Beer semifinal game in Guyana, I was hearing different reports,” Hooper noted.

“What role I am going to play in the side now, I don’t know but I just have to wait and see how the Test series unfolds to know exactly where I am going,” Hooper added.

The first Test will be held in Hooper’s birthplace where he delighted his patriotic compatriots with a career-best 233 against India last year, but whether he will grace the Georgetown Cricket Club, Bourda, one final time, with his presence, will be known in few hours.

“If I can be honest with you, there have been some rumours circulating that I am yet to confirm (my selection on the West Indies team),” Hooper said without going into details.

“I will always have West Indies cricket at heart. I’ve always had it at heart (and) I will continue to do so," added Hooper, who has scored 5 762 Test runs at an average of 36.46 with 13 centuries.

“Any decisions that I make with regards to what I am doing as far as playing cricket, certainly in the immediate future, will have a bearing as to where I see West Indies cricket going,” Hooper remarked.

“If I was to play in the Australian series or if I was play against Sri Lanka and tour South Africa and make way at the end of the year, I honestly feel that I still want to play some first-class cricket,” he said.

“Whether it be in the Caribbean, England, South Africa or Australia; wherever I still feel that I’ve got something left. I still think I can compete if not at the Test level, certainly at the first-class level,” Hooper said.

Hooper also dismissed suggestions that he was not committed to West Indies cricket.

“I don’t think everybody plays 102 Test matches. I’ve got a lot of flak over the years, some just, some unjust and I still turn up and played games.

“It has never really bothered me. I’ve sort of moved on and continued doing what I do best, play cricket. I don’t think you could ignore the fact of 102 Test matches and 210-220 One-Day games,” Hooper contended.

“Given my career, a lot of people say it has been controversial at times and been chequered and that I should be dropped at times and so on but through it all, I think, I stood tall,” Hooper declared.

“I am happy to say, today, I am more than happy to have represented the West Indies. Contrary to reports and what people may feel, I am passionate about the game,” Hooper pointed out.

"Everyone is not going to be like a Curtly Ambrose or a Courtney Walsh in their celebration but I get just as much pleasure from picking up a wicket just like any other bowler in the side or scoring a hundred just like any of the batters,” Hooper said.

“It is just that I am different. I express myself in a different manner and people must accept that. I think it is a bit disgusting when people begin to question your passion about West Indies cricket after playing for close to 15 years,” Hooper charged.

Hooper maintains he was never a selfish cricketer and noted one of his wishes is to for the Caribbean people to rally behind the West Indies team.

“It has never been about Carl Hooper. What I can say to the Caribbean people is basically to continue to support the West Indies team,” Hooper said.

“It’s never been about any one individual. You will always have people for and against. It has never been important to me, the important thing is to continue to support West Indies cricket.

“We’ve got a lot of good young players and I think we are on the verge of something exciting but obviously we need the support from the Board and most importantly, the support from the general public,” Hooper said.

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