We've to take advantage of our win, stay on course: Hooper

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2003, 4:17 [IST]
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Port Elizabeth: West Indian captain Carl Hooper on Wednesday warned his team against complacency as it tries to stay on course for a first World Cup title since 1979. "We have a slight advantage after our first win but that doesn't allow us to get complacent," said Hooper as he looked ahead to their second game of the competition at St George's Park on Thursday against New Zealand. The Windies, world champions in 1975 and 1979, pulled off a sensational three-run win against strong title contenders and co-host South Africa at Cape Town on Sunday with Brian Lara marking his return to the team after a six-month absence with a brilliant century. "Brian is a world class player and he was asked to bat at number three and he delivered. So he is an additional headache for opponents," said the skipper, whose right knee is heavily strapped. The Kiwis have headaches of their own having lost their opening game by 47 runs to Sri Lanka which, combined with their decision not to play against Kenya in Nairobi because of security fears, has put a huge dent in their hopes of making it to the Super Sixes.

The Black Caps, semi-finalists in the last two World Cups, are set to play left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori while all-rounder Chris Cairns may also be asked to bowl despite fears over a knee injury. "Cairns may have a role as a bowler because he came through well in the nets and it gives us a bowling option," said skipper Stephen Fleming. "It is clear that we need to win the following two games - against West Indies and South Africa on Sunday," he said.

Hooper believes his team is playing as a unit now after a difficult period which saw them struggling in both forms of the game. "A lot of hard work has been done and there were disappointments, trials and errors but more or less we are playing as a team," he said.

AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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