Hooper pulls out of World Cup

Tony Cozier reports on a new problem for the troubled West Indies cricket team
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The Independent Online
Citing "personal and health reasons" the Kent all-rounder Carl Hooper yesterday pulled out of the West Indies World Cup team to which he had been named only the day before. He said he would not be available for the subsequent home series against New Zealand either.

Hooper told the West Indies board that, "given his mental and physical state over the past year," his decision had to be made "in his best interest and that of West Indies cricket." He said that once he overcome his currnet difficulties he would be keen to play for the West Indies again.

Hooper's decision coincides with the return of Brian Lara, whose similarly late withdrawal from the recent tour of Australia, although that was for different reasons, highlighted deep divisions within the West Indies team.

It places Hooper's international future in obvious doubt. At 29, and a veteran of 52 Tests and 140 one-day internationals, he has never fulfilled his potential as either a batsman or an off-spin bowler for the West Indies.

His career has often been dogged by injury and illness and he missed last year's tour of New Zealand after contracting malaria on the preceding tour of India.

He became so disenchanted with the game that he sought to abort his tour of England with the West Indies last summer and was only persuaded to continue after a session with the psychologist Mike Brearley, the former England captain.

His place in the World Cup squad had gone to the fast bowler Cameron Cuffy, emphasising the absence of gifted all-rounders in the West Indies at present.

n The Border Cricket Board have been fined 5,000 rand (pounds 914) by the United Cricket Board of South Africa for preparing a substandard pitch for the sixth one-day international between South Africa and England in East London last week. In the match, the sixth of the seven one-day internationals in the series, South Africa were bowled out for 129 and England were dismissed for 115.

Waughs lift Australia, page 21

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