|Full name:||Carl Llewellyn Hooper|
|Born:||15 Dec 1966, Georgetown, Demerara, Guyana|
|Teams:||Guyana U19 (2in: 1983-1986); West Indies U19 (Testy, ODIy: 1985); Demerara (FC: 1983-1986); Guyana (FC, ListA: 1985-2003); West Indies (Test, ODI: 1987-2002); Kent (FC, ListA: 1992-1998); Lancashire (FC, ListA, T20: 2003-2004); All teams|
|School:||Christ Church Secondary, Georgetown, Guyana|
|Kent cap: 1992|
|Indian Cricket Cricketer of the Year: 1995|
|Walter Lawrence Trophy winner: 1998|
|Lancashire cap: 2003|
|Lists of matches and more detailed statistics|
Carl Hooper's oustanding cricket talents became obvious even before teenage years. Unusally tall for his age, he played in local first division cricket, as an effective off-spinner, while still in primary school. His batting developement took off later, but by his mid-teen years he was already a classy batsman who could also bowl well.
Carl Hooper made his debut as a 16-year-old for Guyana in the 1983 Neil & Massey Regional Youth Tournament in Jamaica, bowling off-spin and batting at No 3. He had little success in his first series in a rather weak Guyana team that lost all its matches. Later in 1983 Hooper made an uneventful his first class debut, playing for Demerara against Berbice in Guyana the inter-county competition.
In the 1984 Northern Telecom Regional Youth Championship in Barbados, Hooper became the Guyana Youth team's workhorse bowler and a useful top-order batsman. In 5 matches he bowled an average 31 overs per innings and took 28 wickets. He took an innings best of 8 wickets for 48 runs and a match best of 12 wickets for 128 runs against the Windwards, which was to remain his best ever bowling performance for the Guyana youth team.
It was the only match that Guyana won (or did not lose!) in the two years Hooper had been on the team. In a match that Trinidad & Tobago won by an innings he bowled 65 overs in Trinidad & Tobago's only innings. In addition he scored a total of 210 runs at an average of 26.25 per innings with a highest score of 54, his only half century for the Guyana youth team up to this time.
Hooper was rewarded for his fine efforts with a place in the West Indies youth team to play the England youth team in Barbados. In the lone Test match, he top-scored with 58 and took 5 wickets, to help the West Indies win by 4 wickets. In the One-Day series, Hooper scored a brilliant 119 not out at Kensington Oval to help West Indies win the 1st ODI. England fought back, however, to win the 2nd and final ODI via a higher run rate.
Hooper represented Demerara again in first class cricket at the end of 1984, taking 9 for 142 in the match, despite bowling alongside top Guyana (and future West Indies) off-spinner Clyde Butts. He had moderate success with the bat, scoring 32 and 5.
In January of 1985 Hooper made both his first class and List A regional debuts, playing for Guyana against Barbados in Bridgetown. He opened his regional first class account with a brilliant 126.
The 1985 Northern Telecom Regional Youth Championship was played in Guyana and Hooper was superlative. In the first match he scored 180 against the Leewards (which included future Test fast bowler Kenny Benjamin) and took 5 wickets. In the second he scored 120 not out and took 4 wickets, against Barbados. He took 11 wickets in the third against the Windwards and 6 more in the fourth, against Jamaica.
In the last match of that year's championship he took 7 wickets and scored 82 runs against Trinidad & Tobago, with each team completing only a single innings because of rain. In all Hooper scored 404 runs at an average of 80.80 and took 33 wickets at an average of 11.15, with an innings best of 7 wickets for 47 runs. Guyana won all its matches and the tournament in 1985, despite having a weak team, with the exception of Hooper.
In 1986, the Northern Telecom Regional Youth Championship was played in Guyana again but Hooper was less spectacular. He played in the entire tournament but scored a relatively ordinary 287 runs at an average of 41.00, with a single century (173 against the Windwards) and a single half century. He also took 15 wickets at an average of 32.87, with an innings best of 4 wickets for 63 runs.
Guyana lost all its matches that year except the match against the Windwards, which it won by an innings after Hooper's only century of the series. There were reports that Hooper was tired from being overworked, with virtually no support from the rest of the team. He finished his 4-year youth career for Guyana with a total of 943 runs at an average of 39.29 and 77 runs for an average of 18.79. (Norm)
Hooper holds the accolade of being the first cricketer to score 5,000 runs, take 100 wickets, hold 100 catches and received 100 caps in both Tests ODIs, a feat only matched since by Jacques Kallis. In his autobiography, Steve Waugh writes that "quickness of feet and sweet yet brutally efficient stroke play were Hooper's trademarks." He was routinely prematurely dismissed, however, after losses in concentration.
Shane Warne also thought very highly of Hooper's footwork and, in 2008, named him among the top 100 cricketers of his time, citing in particular his ability to disguise his dances down the track. Warne felt that determining when a batsman was going to give the charge was one of the most important things for a spinner, and that Hooper was the best at making it indeterminable.
"During the 1995 series," he wrote, "this really nagged away at me, because I couldn't spot any of the usual clues even though I knew there had to be a sign that would give him away. On a number of occasions, I stopped at the point of delivery to see if he was giving anything away with his footwork. Most batsmen would be looking to get out of their ground at that point, whereas Hooper just stayed set.
In the end, after watching him closely time after time, I managed to crack it. When he wanted to hit over the top, he just looked at me instead of tapping his crease as usual and looking down. Of course, my knowing what he was going to do did not always stop him from doing it."
Hooper was also a strong slip fielder, usually at second slip. He took numerous catches from the likes of Ambrose and Walsh.
|West Indies U19||Testy||1||2||1||62||58||62.00||0||1||-||2|
|West Indies U19||ODIy||2||2||1||152||119*||152.00||1||0||-||2|
|West Indies U19||Testy||234||11||88||5||3/59||17.60||-||0||0||46.8||2.25|
|West Indies U19||ODIy||60||0||49||2||1/19||24.50||0||0||-||30.0||4.90|