April 29, 1999
Au revoir Carl Hooper
Well, there will be no Carl in WC99 either!! This time as he has retired - what a shame!!
Many feel that he never did justice to his talent, but I for one feel satisfied. His knocks, though far & few, have indeed left a good taste. Because if he had been like Bevan or any of the other consistent guys, I really might not have remembered any particular innings - just the fact that he had been an elegant batsman. That's the amount of cricket that happens these days.
But again thanks to limited TV coverage during his earlydays & his inconsistency, I really had the chance to see only a few innings, but they have left me with a feeling which not even Sachin can inspire in me. Thinking of Carl, the innings I remember promptly is the 93 N.O he made against Australia in the B&H series . The chips over cCover' & 'mid-wicket', the elegant pushes, Oh God! That's cricket!!
A few might also remember his flat-batted pull-sweep for six off Maninder in 1987, I guess in Jaipur where he went on to score a century. There was another 74 N.O of 47 bals against India in 93-94 in a match which WI lost by a couple of runs. The inside-out shots over extra-cover & the pulls over square leg were a treat to watch.
In short , when he played (well) he created magic - I remember once Sunny saying that if there was a Mister World competiton on grace, Carl Hooper would be the winner with M.Waugh the runner up. The greatest thing was when he was on song, he made batting look ridiculously easy & he was comfortable with any attack anywhere.
As a cricket fan, one might not like Sachin , one might not like Lara, but one could never not love Carl. Such was his magic!!! One could only imagine how it would have been to watch a 'Gower & Carl' bat together . People can fret over Sachin & Lara, on who's the best - but I for one would go with Carl's magic - not caring about the stats or the power, just the grace!! So long Carl, thanks for the memories!!!
Editor's note: This is a guest column. If you want to write a column for us, here's how to go about it.