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'One of the top batsmen West Indies produced'
Part eight: Carl Hooper was strong and silent, and he could hit your bouncers out of the park (00:00)
June 12, 2012
'One of the top batsmen West Indies produced'June 12, 2012
Very powerful, very strong player, very good human being, very quiet man, tremendous bowler in one-day cricket, excellent fielder, and obviously one of the top batsmen West Indies has produced.
He wasn't a big front-foot player, but like all great players he played late. He waited for the ball to come to him instead of going towards the ball.
I got him out as well, because in the beginning he used to just come and go half-cock, so inswing was always an option against him. Then he settled after a couple of years, he got runs against us. I remember he got 170-odd in Antigua in 1993. I still remember it. I bowled him a bouncer - he was playing on 140-odd - and we couldn't find the ball. It went outside the stadium into the parking lot. I don't know where it went. The umpire gave us a new rock because we couldn't find the ball.
He was a proper all-round cricketer in any format - one-day cricket, he was excellent, and in Test cricket he was even better. What I liked about him was that he got a lot of runs in county cricket as well. He was a very strong character, never said anything to you as a batsman, but you knew he was very, very strong inside.
Once he was set, he used go on the front foot. He used to play late, and he never used to chase outswing. I bowled him a lot of bouncers, with a man back, but he used to either block or leave it. That annoyed me as a bowler. The top batsmen, whoever got runs against us, lots of them, the common quality they had is that they were brilliant against short bowling.
I think I learnt that in Test cricket if I was not getting wickets then I would just contain, play with my bowling analysis: if I am going to bowl 25 overs in the day then I am only going to give 60 runs. If I get a couple of wickets with the new ball, and if the ball is going to reverse then I am going to get a five-for. So these sort of things I used to play with. And obviously then I realised that there is no point attacking if the ball is not swinging or nothing is happening. I used to go round the wicket, just bring the ball in. Don't give unnecessary runs away because you are putting pressure on yourself as a bowler. Against Carl, I did the same thing, but he was a very calm customer. Calm people bothered me more as a batsmen than people who are very aggressive, like Sir Viv Richards, who I played against at the end of his career, and he was incredible too.
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