HOPE EYES "RUNS AND WINS", AS WORLD CUP LOOMS
CAVE HILL, Barbados – Elegant stroke-maker Shai Hope said “runs and wins” will be his focus as West Indies gear up for the Tri-Nations Series in Ireland and the ICC World Cup which follows.
The 25-year-old has emerged as a key part of the WINDIES One-day International set-up, where he averages 45 from 49 matches, with four centuries – three of these coming in the space of seven matches on tours of India and Bangladesh late last year.
“Runs and wins, that’s my thing for the year,” Hope said during the ongoing camp at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies here.
“Hopefully, whatever I do in the nets, it can transfer into the game and we can get those results we’re looking for. I always back my team 100 per cent and I’m sure we are one of the teams to be reckoned with, so I know as long as we play good cricket throughout the tournament that we’re going to win.”
He added: “It’s about being disciplined in all three departments. . .so the team that performs best on that day in each area would usually come out on top.”
Hope’s ODI form has been excellent over the last year, striking an unbeaten 123 against India last October in Visakhapatnam before making 95 a few days later.
He followed up with stellar back-to-back, undefeated hundreds against Bangladesh last December, despite the WINDIES' defeat in the three-match series.
Hope, who made his ODI debut three years ago, has never played in a World Cup and said the May 30 to July 14 showpiece in England would be an important milestone in his career.
“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for my entire life," he said. "I’ve never played in a World Cup whether it’s been Under-19, 20-over – whatever the case maybe.
“It’s one of those things that growing up as a youngster I always wanted to be involved in and being able to do it at such a young age is definitely something to cherish and if we put in those good performances consistently we’re going to do well.”
Hope is a member of the 14-man squad which have been involved in a training camp over the last week under new interim head coach Floyd Reifer.
He said players had used the opportunity to work on crucial aspects of their game, and hailed the presence of former West Indies Test batsman, Ramnaresh Sarwan, who had been mentoring the younger batsmen.
“The intensity [of the camp] has been very high from the beginning and it’s just great to see the fellas taking everything from each individual coach," he said. "Everyone has come out together and put in a big effort in preparing for the next step.
“I think it is very crucial especially as a team coming together early and getting in those sessions early enough to make sure you prepare well and get everything in place, so that when you get on the field it will come as naturally as it can be.
“[Sarwan] pointed out that the basics are very important. . .and just made sure that the guys tried not to stray too far away from the basics. It was nice to have him around because he did share a lot of knowledge and I’m sure the guys embraced him and the knowledge.”