Shai Hope Has His Task Cut Out vs England

Shai Hope

Lest it is forgotten, Shai Hope had hit a century in his one hundredth (100th) one day international for the West Indies. That was last year when India came calling in the Caribbean. A fiery century and at a brisk run-rate was spoiled as the bowlers, as has often been the trend, failed to contain the visitors.

One felt sorry for the man from Barbados but one on whom the entire Caribbean banks its hopes to safeguard the fortunes of the batting order.

The next big highlight in Shai Hope’s career was that he made a century in his maiden assignment as the West Indies one day captain. This was earlier this year towards March 2023. Interestingly, on this occasion, Shai Hope was not playing at home; his white-ball team were in the land of the Proteas but it were the men from the Caribbean who were on fire.

A valiant century from the right handed bat from the sunny island of Barbados put forth a warm smile on fans who perhaps wouldn’t have expected a West Indies win at East London in the second one-dayer especially since Temba Bavuma was in menacing form in that game.

Next up came the 2023 World Cup qualifiers wherein Shai Hope hit a century against Nepal in an important win. In what was a strikingly good looking century, full of elegance, the current Windies ODI captain took 107 deliveries to complete what became his 15th ODI ton.

Not that he wasn’t in form in games against the United States, Zimbabwe or as seen later, Oman; in the game against the latter, the 30-year-old batter scored a gritty 63 and remained at the crease as his goo friend and Windies opening batsman, Brandon King stroked his way to a fine century.

Where 2023 is concerned, then Shai Hope, true to his consistent standards has been in a class of his own. For someone who stroked a valuable 47 in his maiden one dayer for the West Indies back in 2016, there’s this sense of ubiquity about the now-recognised batsman.

Back in the day, there wasn’t a great deal that was written or spoken about the man whose batting is about elegance and timing, not power hitting as such. For much of that department remained in control of the likes of Carlos Brathwaite, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Fabian Allen and Roman Powell.

Shai Hope
source: CricToday

However, today, and it’s really an interesting development that England would do well to watch; Shai Hope has upped the ante of his scoring in white ball games. For someone who was critiqued and often rather slyly where one conveniently ignored his focus and concentration, but whipped his scoring rate, here’s what Shai Hope’s critics need to note:

As compared to 2022 where he scored 709 one day runs at a strike rate of 74, in 2023, Shai Hope’s scored 632 runs from just 14 games but at a burly rate of 96.

96- yes.

Not sure whether his critics to whom he was little more than some talented batsman who batted at the pace of a turtle can swallow this bitter pill but truth certainly is, for as long as Shai remains at the crease, the Windies can Hope to prevail.

Not only has the dashing batsman associated with poise and now, even power, hold onto an end, he can time the ball with much perfection. Many, whether Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Gerald Coetzee, Dushmanth Chameera and Kagiso Rabada, have found themselves in a bit of bother given Hope’s heroics.

Maybe time’s now for England and its white ball specialists to taste a bit of wood. In the absence of Mark Wood, who is arguably Buttler’s side’s express pace bowler and other familiar faces including Woakes and Stokes, it might seem that things are going to get easy for the Windies.

But then Shai Hope and his team wouldn’t want to leave anything to chance, isn’t it?


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