Hooper Retires (1999)
CARL HOOPER has announced his sudden retirement from the international arena. The 32-year-old Guyanese, for so long one of the game's most widely discussed, critically analysed and annoyingly enigmatic cricketers, stunned teammates and thousands around the world with his decision ahead of the seventh One-Day International at Kensington Oval yesterday.
"It came as a shock. You heard different things but I never thought it (retirement) would come at this stage," West Indies manager Clive Lloyd told the DAILY NATION. "It is a bit untimely and has caught us on the hop, but he has made up his mind and we have to live with that. He is not an old guy and I am pretty disappointed that he chose to finish his career so early."
Hooper informed West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) chief executive officer Stephen Camacho of his decision Saturday night and was expected to confirm his retirement in writing yesterday. The reasons for his retirement are unclear, but it was evident during the seven-match limited-overs series against Australia that his interest seemed to be waning. It was also felt that the ironic applause he received almost every time he touched the ball during Saturday's penultimate match and his failure to regain the vice-captaincy might have led to the latest of his unpredictable move.
Three years ago, he also pulled out of the West Indies team on the eve of the World Cup.
His retirement has made it necessary for a replacement to be named in the 15-man squad that is scheduled to leave the Caribbean on Sunday for the eighth World Cup in England. "It was very untimely in the sense that we now have to try and replace him with someone else," Lloyd said. "The person would not have enough time to play with the team as such until he gets to England. That is part and parcel of life and we just have to get on with the game."
Camacho said the WICB would have to apply to the International Cricket Council tournament's technical committee to draft a new player into the squad. He added that the board would reserve further comment on Hooper's retirement until official correspondence was received.
Hooper has been considered somewhat of an under-achiever since his entry into international cricket in 1987. He has many worshippers around the Caribbean and for years has had a love-hate relationship with Barbadians, who often hailed him as "Sir Carl". A three-dimensional player capable of some of the most elegant batting, tidy off-spin and brilliant slip catching, his record at Test level was hardly outstanding. His 4 153 runs in 80 matches come at a modest average of 33.76 and his 93 wickets were taken at 47.01 runs apiece.