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The job spec might more realistically have spelled out terms for a saviour rather than a captain, because that was what the West Indies Board was looking for when they appointed Carl Hooper as captain in March 2001. Dario Benedetto Jersey . There had been talk of rebuilding, but widespread panic at their consistently substandard performances called for something swift and spectacular. When Brian Lara resigned in February 2000, Jimmy Adams had taken the helm. After initial victories over Zimbabwe and Pakistan, the failures were miserable, especially the 5-0 trouncing in Australia. Adams was not a singularly poor captain. His two predecessors (Courtney Walsh and Lara) had faced almost the same pattern of wins and losses. Team problems overshadowed the captaincy.But with their competence as cricket administrators under heavy scrutiny, the besieged management of the WICB began clutching at old straws. Gauging the inexperience of the team and its youthful disregard for peers in authority, the Board sought an older figure who might command respect. Richie Richardson, the former captain, was a good prospect, but he had just had a bad season. Desmond Haynes would have been ideal, but he was still involved in litigation against the WICB. Hooper was the Guyana Cricket Boards choice.At that time, the WICB was about to elect its new executive. For the first time, president Pat Rousseau was facing a serious challenge to the presidency and vice-presidency, in the forms of Alloy Lequay (Trinidad & Tobago) and Wes Hall (Barbados). The Guyana vote would be crucial, and Hoopers return was a powerful trading card. Rousseau was returned and Adams was dumped - he read about his sacking in the press.Sir Garfield Sobers didnt see how Hooper could possibly represent a West Indies future. Michael Holding vowed not do any commentary in protest at the appointment. Professor Hilary Beckles, the historian, coined the word Hooperizeration to describe a post-nationalist syndrome that abandoned all ties to nationalist projects in favour of individualism.The public objections to Hoopers return were two-fold: he had turned his back on West Indies cricket and he had never seemed committed enough to live up to the potential he had offered so tantalisingly since his Test debut in 1987-88.Now here he was, dropping in on West Indies cricket as a saviour from Down Under. Why should anyone have any more faith in him than they did in Adams, Lara or Walsh?Carl Llewellyn Hooper is 35. Apart from Brian Lara, he is the most senior West Indian player. He and Lara are the two who have evoked the most extreme emotions among cricket-lovers. Lara has already fulfilled unimagined dreams, revelled wildly in his glory; West Indians do not know if their dream of Hooper has already seen the light or if it is still lurking ahead at nightfall.Hooper is most commonly described as enigmatic. It suggests complexity, but in his case, and more frustratingly, it means that the occasional brilliant sparkle on his flat surface sheds no light on his true character. And how do you trust a man whose character remains an enigma?In his second Test, against India at Calcutta in December 1987, Hooper made 100 not out - an innings that appeared to exhibit unfolding greatness. That promise has haunted his career. Hooper is without peer as a batsman of elegance, style and exquisite timing. Collect his finest moments and they complete the portrait of cricket as art. Yet there have been flaws beyond comprehension. He plays spin effortlessly, is unruffled by pace, but can suddenly descend into rank amateurishness to get out in full swing. Carelessness? Lost concentration?His Test average has lingered too long in the thirties for a batsman of his ability; outside the Test arena, Hooper has kept the promise with a first-class average of 47.16. At Kent, he scored more than 1000 runs in each of his five summers. In Australia in March 2000 he won the Jack Ryder Medal as the best player in Melbournes grade cricket. When he returned to the Caribbean for the Busta Cup series, he scored a tournament-record 954 runs at 95.40 with four centuries. But these performances reflect the individualism that Beckles described, and have nothing to do with a commitment to West Indies cricket. Hooper articulated it in his own declaration in 1994 as he left the Caribbean to play county cricket, that For now, my fitness comes first and Kent second.Hooper complained of WICB neglect over the back injury which excluded him from the 1993-94 home series against England. During the 1995 tour of England he had complained of mental and physical fatigue and asked to go home, a request that was turned down. Then in 1996 he withdrew late from the World Cup in India and Pakistan.At Lords in July this year Hooper was conspicuously absent from the ICCs meeting of Test captains. The WICB did not know that he had declined the invitation on personal grounds until they read about it in the press. Hooper never even thought to inform the WICB of his non-availability.None of these episodes presents an image of commitment. The absence of it is a bone that has always stuck in the West Indian throat. So when in April 1999 he announced his retirement just before the seventh and final one-day match against Australia at Kensington Oval, leaving the WICB with a hole to fill three weeks before the start of the World Cup, it was greeted with cheers by spectators. It seemed unkind, particularly from a Barbadian crowd who fondly called him Sir Carl, but it was a measure of how deeply aggrieved spectators were by his nondescript performances. Informed sources say he had been tipped that he was going to be dropped and to save face he was advised to retire. He had already complained that his performance suffered from the harsh criticisms from West Indians.This was the problem he identified. Not too little practice. Not inadequate training. Nothing about examining his own fitness level. The problem was an external one, outside his control. And that, it seems, has been the way with his captaincy.Hoopers return to West Indies cricket has been marked by his new-found zeal for religion. Since his problems are not of his own making, he has put his captaincy in the hands of his God.And God knows he has been blessed. Against India in the recent series he made his highest score of 233, but throughout that tour he had been favoured by chances. He showed off some of the Hooper form, but as captain it was as if he did not have to do anything but say a prayer before the day began and thank the good Lord when it ended.Shortly after his appointment he faced defeat by South Africa at Queens Park Oval. Mervyn Dillon had just returned to the pavilion and Walsh was on his way to end the misery. Hooper stood alone, about two metres behind the wicket, one hand on his hip, the other holding the bat upon which he seemed to be leaning like a crutch. The afternoon sun shortened his shadow, reducing him in his solitude as he awaited Walsh. He cut such a lonely figure: the body heavy, the shoulders sagging, the whole countenance suggesting bemused disappointment.It would become a familiar sight as the captaincy wore into its second year. He too has followed the pattern of his predecessors. His first one-day series against South Africa ended in a 5-2 defeat. Success followed against Zimbabwe in the two-match Test series (one win, one draw) and in the Kenya ODIs (3-0), but there were more collapses in Sri Lanka, despite Laras stunning comeback. Then came the losses to Pakistan in the one-dayers, before India came to the Caribbean. West Indies won the Test series but lost the ODIs. Against New Zealand they won the ODIs but lost the Test series.The teams mixed fortunes seemed less disheartening because players were beginning to show form. The bowling was still weak, but there was obvious tightening of batting and fielding. But the New Zealand series exposed Hoopers weakness as a strategist. Time and again his inertia in setting fields resulted in expensive runs. His bowling choices were continually questioned by commentators. Why didnt he bowl himself more? At critical moments he seemed to retreat mentally from the game, and Lara appeared to be taking charge. By contrast, Stephen Fleming was constantly involved in strategic planning. The difference was marked.Hooper retreats into some inner world at crucial moments, as if he can no longer bear to be involved. Perhaps he has no killer instinct. Maybe his faith allows him to back away and put it in divine hands.Is he captain, saviour or a man on his own? God alone knows.Vaneisa Baksh is a Trinidad-based cricket writer. This article first appeared in the September 2002 edition of Wisden Cricket Monthly. Click here for details of how to subscribe. Cristian Pavon Jersey . The Hall of Fame defenceman told Landsberg that he believes fighting still has a place in todays game, but thinks staged fighting needs be outlawed. Womens Argentina Jerseys . -- There were a lot of firsts for the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. http:///...ani-lo-celso-jersey/ . To the surprise of many, it isnt the Wolverines but their in-state rivals the Michigan State Spartans. Nearly a third of Southeastern Conference coaches enter the season with questions about their futures and potential make-or-break seasons looming over their programs.Kevin Sumlin and Gus Malzahn, offensive whizzes who have coached Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks, are facing pressure to return to the top half of the SEC West standings.LSU begins the season ranked No. 5, with Les Miles hoping to ride Leonard Fournette back into SEC and national title contention after barely holding onto his job last season. Kentuckys Mark Stoops and Vanderbilts Derek Mason also may need to show some progress to hang on to their jobs.The good news for the coaches is that its opening week, where they can start control what happens to them going forward on the field instead of dealing with questions off it. Of course, the flip side is the intensity of the scrutiny will increase with poor performances.We have pegged our loyalties to LSU and were going to coach like weve always coached, Miles said. Im going to bust my tail, put the best team on the field that is possible, which at LSU is a damn good football team. And Im not going to look behind. Im not going to let anyone on the perimeter distract me.Miles appears to have a team that could challenge No. 1 Alabama in the Western Division a year after a three-game skid put his job in jeopardy. Hes lost at least three SEC games in each of the past three seasons but also led LSU to a pair of national championship games.Ending a five-game losing streak to Nick Sabans Crimson Tide would help wipe out any lingering questions of his security.Malzahn and Sumlin, meanwhile, had great success in their debut seasons with dual-threat quarterbacks but have each posted two straight mediocre records including struggles within the league. They open with big challenges even before they can even start trying to climb up the typically loaded SEC West.Auburn faces No. 2 Clemson and Texas A&M plays No. 16 UCLA. If the season should really unravel, it would cost Texas A&M $15 million to fire Sumlin; Auburn would owe Malzahn $9 million.Malzahn has won just six SEC games combined the past two seasons after debuting with an SEC title and national championship game berth in 2013. Lucas Biglia Jersey. Hes facing some heat after going 7-6 in a season when Auburn opened as a popular pick to win the league.Last year obviously we were disappointed with the ways things turned out, Malzahn said. If youre a competitor, you want to do something about it. Our teams kind of had a chip on their shoulder in the offseason, which I think is good.Sumlin got off to a great start, too. His Johnny Manziel-led inaugural team finished 11-2, followed by 9-4. The last two teams have won eight games apiece but also finished sixth and tied for fifth in the ultra-competitive West after going 3-5 and 4-4. The Aggies have opened both those seasons with five straight wins.Weve got to figure out whats going on in the back half, I guess, Sumlin said. Weve spent a lot of time in the offseason talking about what were doing well and what were not doing well, and try to stay ahead of the curve on what we do well and then address some things on the back end.He may have found one answer in quarterback Trevor Knight, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma who arrives after two highly touted passers transferred.Vanderbilts Mason is 7-17 in two seasons after the Commodores had made three straight bowl games for the first time in school history. That includes just two SEC wins, but he has eight returning starters on each side of the ball.Were playing with a big chip on our shoulder, Mason said. We understand exactly where were at.Kentuckys Stoops has downplayed talk about this being a pivotal season or possibly being on the hot seat, and Kentucky would owe him the remaining $12 million on his contract if hes fired. Plus, Stoops has won five games each of the past two seasons, flirting with bowl trips and dramatically improving from his 2-10 debut.You get more comfortable at what youre doing and going into the fourth year as a head coach, he said. I better be better than I was year one, right?---AP Sports Writers Teresa Walker, David Brandt and Gary Graves contributed to this report. NFL T-shirts From ChinaCheap Jerseys 2020Cheap NFL GearCheap NFL Jerseys AuthenticWholesale Jerseys 2020Cheap Jerseys 2020Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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