IPL harming West Indies cricket: Carl Hooper

Corruption is everywhere man, not just in cricket, It is what is, says West Indies stalwart Carl Hooper

Former West Indies all-rounder Carl Hooper says the lure of bagging an IPL contract has hurt the Caribbean outfit in Test cricket as most talented youngsters’ “ultimate goal” is to play in the cash-rich T20 league. The past disputes between the players and the West Indies Cricket Board are well-documented and the IPL has contributed to the team’s travails in the longest format, feels Hooper.

The veteran of 102 Tests and 10,000-plus international runs is back in India after 16 years to commentate on the two-Test series. “We should have seen this coming (IPL impact on West Indies cricket). T20 cricket is here to stay. You got more leagues in play than what it was five years ago. It is crazy. It is going to affect us because for most young West Indies players, the ultimate aim is sign a contract with an IPL side,” he said.

“So it would have a bearing on his availability for West Indies cricket including Tests,” Hooper, who now runs a chain of restaurants at his adopted home Adelaide, told PTI.

Owing to pay disputes and with the option of playing T20 leagues around the world, the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine preferred playing the shorter formats.

“The IPL is just a six-week window but we have had situations where we have had someone like Sunil Narine, who picked up six wickets in his last Test (in 2013), has not played for us again. Same goes for Gayle and Kieron Pollard.

“I am not saying they were finished products in the longest format but at 26-27, let’s say if Pollard played Test cricket, who knows he could have developed as a good Test cricketer. “But he stuck to the shorter formats. So we are missing players. Evin Lewis just decided to push back on a central contract. He is good enough to play Test cricket. So the shorter versions of the game curtail our progress. Having said that, it would be unfair to blame the players for making the choice (of playing IPL). We all want to be financially secure at the end of the day,” said the 51-year-old from Guyana.

Hooper cited another example which could hurt the Test team. “Someone like a Shimron Hetmyer, who has had very good CPL, is highly rated. Now he can be picked up in the IPL next season and I would hate to lose him to the IPL.”

Despite playing for close to 20 years, Hooper was not able to secure his future financially. He moved to Adelaide 21 years ago, married an Australian and is now a happy owner of Paparazzi, a multi-cuisine restaurant which serves butter chicken and pasta at the same time.

“I am not going to judge players who choose IPL for West Indies. You cannot be upset with a guy who doesn’t want to sign a central contract as he wants to play in other leagues. It is a tough situation. Virat Kohli can stop playing today if he wants to but none of our guys can afford to do that,” said Hooper.

With the West Indies not able to arrest the slide, Hooper has been sad for a long time. “But I am still optimistic. The board needs to implement policies that take the game in the right direction. Your first-class level is probably good enough and that is why you can test Prithvi Shaw at such a young age. But ours is failing and to revive that, lot of work needs to be done at U-16 and U-19 level,” he said.

Hope also feels that West Indies cricketers need to be paid better and corruption can never be rooted out of the game. “Corruption is everywhere man, not just in cricket. It is what is,” he said with a wry smile.

(Courtesy Indian Express)

Gayle pulls out of ODI, T20 series against India –

Explosive bat Chris Gayle opts out of India short-format cricket citing personal reasons


Explosive opening batsman Chris Gayle has not been included in the Windies squad for the limited-overs series against India after he opted out of citing personal reasons.

The Windies Cricket Board on Monday announced the squads for the upcoming ODI and T20I series, scheduled to start from October 21. Darren Bravo and all-rounder Kieron Pollard will make a comeback in the shortest format, while all-rounder Andre Russell, who has been ruled out of all 50-over cricket due to injury but has been included in the T20I squad which will take place in the month of November.

Off-spinner Sunil Narine is another notable exclusion as the selection committee announced the 15-member squad. The board has named three new faces (Chandrapul Hemraj, Fabian Allen and Oshane Thomas) for the upcoming series. While Jason Holder will be the captain of the ODI squad, the West Indies T20 team will be led by Carlos Brathwaite.

“We will be without our stalwart, Chris Gayle for this Indian tour and the next tour against Bangladesh as he has declined selection at this time, however, he has made himself available for the selection for the visit of England to the Caribbean and the World Cup in 2019,” WICB chairman of the selection panel Courtney Browne said in a statement.

The West Indies are currently engaged in a two-Test series in India and are trailing after going down in the opening Test inside three days. The West Indies will play five ODIs and three T20 Internationals. The first ODI will be held in Guwahati on October 21.

With an eye on next year’s 50-over World Cup and 2020 World T20 in Australia, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has drafted in three youngsters — opener Chrandrapaul Hemraj, all-rounder Fabian Allen and fast bowler Oshane Thomas — in the limited overs squads.

Big-hitting Kieron Pollard, middle-order batsman Darren Bravo and all-rounder Andre Russell have also made a comeback into the T20 squad.

“As we continue our Cricket World Cup preparations, the upcoming tour of India provides a great opportunity to expose some of our young talent,” Browne said.

“Opener, Chandrapul Hemraj, all-rounder Fabian Allen and fast bowler Oshane Thomas will get their opportunity to showcase their skills, along with Sunil Ambris, who is returning to the fold.

Russell, however, has been ruled out of all 50-over format due to injury and Alzarri Joseph will undergo a fitness test before leaving for India.

“With the 2020 ICC World T20 two years away and the limited amount of T20 Internationals within the next year, the panel believes at this juncture it is time to invest in the young players that have emerged over the last two years from Windies A and B teams, along with 2018 CPL,” Browne explained.

“The selection of a young group two years prior to the World T20 gives the coaching staff time to help them with their skills and for the team to develop into a cohesive and competitive unit.

“The team will continue to retain some experienced players who will work alongside the younger group…offer our congratulations to the players making their international debuts and welcome back Darren Bravo and Kieran Pollard to international cricket,” he said.

WICB Chief Executive Officer Johnny Grave justified the reasons behind the early squad announcements.

“The team will have a camp before the start of the ODI series in Guwahati, so we had to select the squad before the start of the Super50 Cup, in order to organise flights and visas. With the CPL finishing last month, there was no reason to delay announcing the T20 squad,” he said.

As expected Dwayne Bravo and spinner Sunil Narine did not find a place in any of the squads after their names were left out of the 25-player list prepared to procure the Indian visa.

While Jason Holder will be the captain of the ODI squad, the West Indies T20 team will be led by Carlos Brathwaite.

West Indies ODI Squad:

Jason Holder (capt), Fabian Allen, Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels and Oshane Thomas.

West Indies T20I Squad:

Carlos Brathwaite (capt), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford and Oshane Thomas.

(Courtesy NDTV)