Hooper should call it a day
- says commentator 'Ras B'
Stabroek News
March 2, 2003

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC - Regional cricket commentators Whaldama "Ras B" Brooks and Andrew Mason have criticised the West Indies' strategy in their World Cup matches, following the team's critical loss to Sri Lanka on Friday at Newlands in Cape Town.

Brooks said Carl Hooper should give up the West Indies captaincy, while Mason criticised what he described as an over-emphasis on batting in the team's strategy.

The West Indies, chasing 229 for victory, ended on 222 for nine and lost by six runs, in spite of half centuries by Shivnarine Chanderpaul (65) and Chris Gayle (55), and a brave 47 not out from Ramnaresh Sarwan, who returned - from hospital - to complete his innings after suffering a blow to his head.

The result meant the West Indies can only advance to the Super Six stage of the tournament with a combination of unlikely results in remaining matches of the preliminary round.

Brooks, from Anguilla, suggested Hooper should step aside and allow a younger player to develop as team captain.

"I would like to see Hooper call it a day and give somebody else a chance, give somebody a chance to show what they have," Brooks said on CMC's CricketPlus broadcast during yesterday's Pakistan/India game at SuperSport Park, Centurion.

"Hooper is practically out of it now, there isn't much you're going to get from Hooper now in the game, we have some youngsters who we need to groom and groom quickly," Brooks added.

He said the 36-year-old Guyanese has not shown a positive enough attitude in his approach to team strategy.

"I am really disappointed with his captaincy, his leadership hasn't been assertive at all," Brooks said.

Brooks thought Hooper's field-placing strategy is often too defensive.

"Not wanting to be attacking when conditions afforded for a little attack, too traditional with two slips starting, even if you sense that the wicket will be bouncy and seaming a bit," Brooks said.

Mason also slammed Hooper's strategy as captain, and questioned the overall team plan with selection and lack of bowling strength.

The Barbadian radio commentator highlighted the team's failure twice in the tournament - against New Zealand and on Friday against the Sri Lankans - to successfully chase gettable targets in spite of playing an extra batsman. "It's the second time that we have been chasing under 250 runs and we've lost, and we are playing eight batsmen and three bowlers, so that is significant," Mason said. "I know that with (Vasbert) Drakes, (Pedro) Collins, (Mervyn) Dillon and possibly (Jermaine) Lawson, you don't want to have your last four bowlers not being able to contribute with the bat.

"But there has to be a balance, and yesterday, against Sri Lanka who were struggling particularly with their middle-order on a pitch that offers something to the bowlers, effectively the pressure was taken off with Hooper coming into the attack in over number 15.

"Cricket is not only about batting, we have gone to this World Cup essentially to bat, but cricket is also about bowling as well," added Mason.

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