Hooper surprised by Sagicor HPC talent pool

-says WICB is moving in the right direction on player development

Bridgetown, Barbados– Carl Hooper, the former Guyana and West Indies captain, and newly appointed Batting Coach of the Sagicor High Performance Centre said he is genuinely surprised by the talent pool at the HPC. 

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"The amount of talent I am seeing here (at the Sagicor HPC) has surprised me. I was away [from West Indies] for a while and you would see the game on television, but now that you get close and actually see the guys playing it is clear there is still a lot of talent around," said Hooper who lives in Australia.

The 44-year-old started work with the emerging players earlier this month at the Sagicor HPC located at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies in Barbados. He said he enjoys working with players, helping with their development and preparing them for a higher level of the game.

"Having an ‘academy’ is a great thing for West Indies cricket. The good thing about it is that you have your best young players assembled together and they get to work together as a team. The efforts and emphasis, as is being done, have to be placed on ‘academies’ at the developmental levels, if we are to see an improvement in the game."

Hooper is pleased with the players and has been particularly impressed with the level of focus of his young students and their knowledge of the game. He has also been quite impressed by their skill levels.

"The programme is well structured and very well run. The focus is to point the players in the right direction. Looking at a few of the guys, while there have very good hands and eyes – which has been one of the strengths of West Indians over the year – we need to work on some of the footwork. This is an area that I will spend the next few months working on and trying to encourage the young batsmen to use their feet a bit more," Hooper added.

He has high hopes for the future of West Indies cricket.

He noted: "From what I have seen here and what is being channelled into the development of West Indies cricket, I am happy to be part of this development. We are certainly going in the right direction. Getting young cricketers involved and helping them in every way is certainly going in the right direction. It definitely will help. I can see us coming back up in world cricket."

Hooper, who played for the West Indies between 1987 and 2003, was a favourite among fans in the Caribbean. Spectators fell in love with his silky-smooth strokeplay and warm personality.

He played 102 Test matches and 227 One-Day Internationals for the West Indies before retiring from the international stage after the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. After leaving the region he lived with his family in South Australia and recently worked as one of the coaches with the South Australia Redbacks state team at the youth level.