Cricketers pick their favourites

'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


Carl Hooper

'One of the top batsmen West Indies produced'

June 12, 2012

Carl Hooper bats, Sussex v West Indies, Hove
Carl Hooper: waited for the ball to come to him Adrian Murrell / © Getty Images

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.

Posted by   on (June 13, 2012, 15:33 GMT)

Tremendous talent, possessed all the talent/ ability/skills set to be one of the all-time greats. A pure delight to watch when on song. He's worshipped in my native Barbados. But your classic underachiever, still owes WI plenty runs. Averaged 36.46 in Tests, way below the greats and had only 13 Test tons.

Posted by   on (June 12, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

Cool-Carl was one of my alltime favourite batsmen to watch. His grace, style and fluency was easy on the eye and when he was on form, made batting look like a walk in the park. But his habit to self-destruct, made it too frustrating to watch him at times. His stats illustrate the kind of inconsistancy that plagued what would've been a potentially great career. I remember watching a test match at Sabina Park against South Africa in 2001, Hooper was looking promising, footwork and timing was impeccable and looked in no trouble at all against the formidable bowling line-up of Donald, Pollock and Kallis. Those guys were generating some pace at the time and Hooper played them like he was facing medium-pacers. Then during a Pollock over, Shaun put a fielder at deep square-leg, bowled a bouncer and Hooper hooked it straight down the fielder's throat like it was catching practice. And that illustrated Hooper's career in a nutshell.

Posted by rienzied on (June 12, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

My favorite all time player as he was a great player of quick and slow bowling. How I will never forget how he nullified Warne in the carribean in 1995 ODIs. Hooper made batting an art and a beautiful player.. Not complicated and such a talent, towards the end he really matured and was unjustly dropped. Such talent wasted

Posted by 07sanjeewakaru on (June 12, 2012, 6:52 GMT)

Carl Hooper=Talent wasted

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