Carl Hooper: Should He Be In The West Indies Team And If So Should He Captain It A debated topic among the West Indian cricket community right now is whether or not Carl The Prodigal Son Hooper should be in the West Indies team for the upcoming series against South Africa. More importantly, some seem to think that he should not only be recalled but that he should be also made captain. Hooper's return to international cricket, if he is successful in his campaign is going to be met with a mixture of feelings and this essay will attempt to view the factors behind these feelings. Based strictly on his performance in the recently concluded Busta Cup Series of matches, it would appear that the Hooper supporters have legitimate justification in asking for his recall to the team. To this point, Hooper has scored 889 runs at an average of 97 in addition to taking 24 wickets. However there are those who believe that this is not enough to warrant his playing for the West Indies again.
They contend that Hooper has always had the ability to play at that level, but this is not reflected in his past international record. Before retiring Hooper played 80 Tests scoring 4153 runs at an average of 33.76 while taking 93 wickets. As a result his critics are of the opinion that Hooper is an under-achiever, he does as much as is necessary to get by and nothing more. He is even known to have said that in a Test Series his goal is to score one century.
His critics believe that his outstanding performance in the Busta Series was just to get himself back in the team and as soon as he is there he will revert to his previous way. Then they are critics who believe that even if Hooper continues his outstanding play he still should not be called to the West Indies team. They believe that Hooper has more years of international cricket behind than he has left to play. This in their mind is important because the West Indies claim the are rebuilding a team, and if this is so, players with a long future should get the nod over players like Hooper.
Furthermore, they argue that if Hooper were selected, he would just be taking the place of a younger player who may be trying to establish a name for himself. Then when Hooper is gone for good, the team would be in the same position it is in now, with a big gap between the players that needs to be bridged. But then there are those who believe that the team should be picked on performance and not on age. It is important to put your best team on the field even if that team includes a player that is 50 years old.
Also they suggest that you cannot rebuild anything without a sturdy foundation and an experienced player like Hooper could be seen as such a foundation and would therefore be an asset to the team. There are fans that are requesting that Hooper not only be in the team but that he captains it. This is an interesting request because Hooper, whether or not in form, has a history of showing irresponsibility. This is the man who gave up the role of captain of the Guyanese Under 19 cricket team so that he could concentrate on his batting. It is also Hooper who gave up the role of captain of County team Kent after losing his first and only game as captain.
Most importantly it is Hooper who as captain of the West Indies team refused to play in the Hong Kong Sixes tournament because of differences he had with the organisers. Among others, these are some examples of his irresponsibility. In addition some feel that it is ridiculous for someone now trying to make a team to be even considered for the role of captain of that team. The role of captain should be given to someone who has their position in the team already established. On the other hand Hooper does have some justification in being captain of the team.
First of all he is one of the most experienced players in the region and if he were to captain the team this could prove invaluable. Additionally Hooper seems to have a renewed commitment to the team, which could be genuine. This is evident by the fact that upon realising the struggles the West Indies were experiencing, he came out of retirement and flew back to the Caribbean from Australia at his own expense, to make himself available for the regional contest. Upon arriving here, he was made captain of Guyana's Busta Series team, which he led to a very successful season. So maybe he does have a legitimate claim to the West Indian captaincy.
The debate on Hooper's eligibility for the West Indies team as well as the captaincy will go on no matter what the W ICBC final decisions are. However this essay has shown that the decision is not as clear cut as some might think because they are legitimate positive as well negative factors influencing these decisions.