Carl Hooper claims the IPL massively affects West Indies cricket
By Sandy - Oct 5, 2018 12:26 am
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Former West Indies captain Carl Hooper claims that the Indian Premier League (IPL) has massively affected the Caribbean cricket in longer formats.

Carl Hooper

Since IPL has grown up, the disputes are getting bigger between the Caribbean players and its board. The star players have let go the national contracts to make themselves available for the cash-rich T20 tournament. West Indies cricket has suffered hugely for it, especially in the Test cricket.

Hooper told PTI, “We should have seen this coming (IPL impact on Windies 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 players, the ultimate aim is sign a contract with an IPL side. So it would have a bearing on his availability for Windies cricket including Tests.”

The big Caribbean cricketers like Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo etc have ended their Test careers prematurely due to IPL. Hooper believes some of them could develop as a good Test cricketer that would be helpful for West Indies cricket in the longer format.

Hooper said, “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, lets 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.

Recently, Evin Lewis has rejected the white-ball contract while Hooper claims that Lewis is good enough to play Test cricket. However, the former West Indies captain is not blaming the players as he understands the financial secure priority.

Evin Lewis

Hooper said, “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.”

Now, Hooper fears that they can lose the 21-year-old talented batsman Shimron Hetmyer who recently performed impressively in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) as he finished as the third most runs scorer in CPL 2018 (440 runs).

Hooper told, “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.”

However, Hooper is still optimistic on Caribbean cricket future as he believes that the board needs to implement such friendly policies to take the game in the right direction.

Hooper claimed, “I am not going to judge players who choose IPL for Windies. 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.

“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.”