Hooper Plugs For Clive Lloyd

Orin Davidson
Date published: 

As the West Indies Cricket Board stumbles from one predicament to another, former team captain Carl Hooper feels the time has long come for Clive Lloyd to play a more prominent role in the administration of the Regional game.

According to Hooper, Lloyd who presided over the transformation of the team as captain from an ordinary side to best in the world for 15 years, is ideally equipped to be president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) “He would not want anything from it, he does everything out of love for the game,” declared Hooper adding that Lloyd has the “world’ of contacts to get things done.

Lloyd is currently a member of a bloated WICB Board of Directors that amounts to 14 territorial representatives, excluding the president and vice president.

Yet the WICB is about to stage the premier regional four-day competition for the second year without sponsorship as was the case with the Under-19 championship.It follows an unprecedented strike by the Test and One Day International (ODI) l team players last year, in a bitter dispute that was preceded by late payment of wages for a number of tours prior. It all occurred at a time when the Board’s finances were supposed to be significantly boosted after the Region hosted the 2007 World Cup.

Lloyd once attempted to run for the WICB presidency but got little support from the Board. These days he spends a lot of his time heading the International Cricket Council’s development committee.

Hooper who played 102 Tests that yielded 5762 runs and 114 wickets, and lives in Adelaide, Australia spent Christmas in New York, and disclosed he will next try his hand at coaching. The Guyanese all rounder revealed that he is the holder of a Level Two coaching certificate and will prefer to start in one of the developing cricket countries like the United States. He pointed out that cricket should have a place in the mega American sports industry. “It would be a shame if we live through this lifetime and not have America involved in international cricket because if you want big crowds and make money, this is where you come,” he disclosed.

And the former middle order batsman would not mind being a part of the development process in America on condition that the priorities are right.“I want to be part of something with a purpose, I want to hear somebody say we have a plan to take United States cricket from here to international level in ten years time,” Hooper declared. “It does not necessarily have to be something to bring immediate success, but to be part of a process that would be successful in the long term”.

Hooper’s batting artistry and striking personality made him one of the more popular West Indian cricketers of his time, but his career ended abruptly after captaining West Indies in the 2003 World Cup.Contrary to the belief of some followers who felt he turned his back on the team, Hooper explained that it was counterproductive for him to remain in the side after he learnt he was no longer needed as captain. “The Board obviously after the World Cup wanted to go in a different direction and we had a few young players just about to hit the stripes. Marlon Samuels batted fantastically well in India, we had (Ramnaresh) Sarwan beginning to come through, we had Chris (Gayle) beginning to hit the stripes and things were beginning to look a bit better. I think it was a choice of continuing to play and deny one of these young guys an opportunity, because if I played in the middle and (Brian) Lara was the captain, then one of them would have to sit down and if we are thinking of rebuilding then you have to give the young player the opportunity,” said the ex-captain. He stressed that it was the only fair decision he could’ve made. “When it came to a decision of whether to play or walk away I think I made the right decision. I was 38 (years)," stated Hooper who added that for him to play for two more years, would block a player coming through at the age of 24 25. “ I mean that’s selfish. It does not make any sense even though there were calls from various parts of the Caribbean from ex-players that my decision was selfish”.

About the current team, Hooper said he is excited at the prospect of emerging fast bowler Kemar Roach teaming up with a fit Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor. He said the batting is okay, but the players were lacking the focus required to bat long enough to be competitive over the 15 sessions required for 5-day Tests. Over the years Hooper feels he has not seen a better batsman than the former West Indies great Vivian Richards, who he feels is super gifted.

On Lara, the former triple world record holder, and current highest Test run-scorer Sachin Tendulkar, Hooper feels the former was flamboyant and more of a risk-taker compared to Tendulkar who is more circumspect. Hooper added that they both played for the statistics and know their games inside out. And Hooper rates the 134 he scored against Pakistan at Lahore early in his career against a powerful bowling attack comprising Imran Khan, Wazim Akram, Waqar Younis and Abdul Qadir in difficult conditions in 1990, as his best innings.

Watch interview of Orin Davidson interviewing Carl Hooper on Cricket Tribune.