Shai pins ‘Hope’ on extended stays at crease

Shai pins ‘Hope’ on extended stays at crease

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):

West Indies batsman Shai Hope says a desire to bat for long periods is what is behind his accomplishments in one-day international (ODI) cricket.

But although that hunger helped him become just the fourth West Indies batsman to score a hundred in his 100th ODI, he said on Sunday he was not as excited as he would have been if the feat did not come in a losing effort for the West Indies.

“I never feel too pleased with these so-called accolades when the team doesn’t get over the line,” the right-handed batsman said.

Hope’s 13th ODI century, and the third this year, had provided a foundation for West Indies’ 311-6 off their 50 overs in their second match against India in their three-match series. However, the visitors pulled off the highest-ever run chase in this format at Queen’s Park Oval and the third-highest in the region with two balls to spare, taking a 2-0 lead and a series win.

“I always try to score runs and contribute to wins and if it doesn’t contribute to a win, it doesn’t feel the same as a win,” Hope said in a post-match interview.

He made a superb 115 off 135 balls at the top of the order, including eight fours and three sixes.

By doing so, he followed in the footsteps of Gordon Greenidge against England in 1988, Chris Gayle against England in 2004, and Ramnaresh Sarwan against India in 2006 who all reached the landmark of a century in their 100th ODI.

Hope has so far amassed 4,193 ODI runs at an average of 49.91.

Asked what he felt was responsible for his success in this format of the game, Hope said: “I would just say my desire to bat as long as I can. I love batting and I always want to stay at the crease and do whatever I can for the team’s benefit. Just the desire and hunger to stay out there in the middle.

“The key is just to try to keep learning. You never know it all in anything so it’s just about trying to learn and develop as best as I can while continuing to do some things that I’ve been doing well. It’s all about adding to your game as best as you can,” Hope added, as he explained how he intended to maintain and improve his performance.

Noting that India had proven “very good opposition” and their batting depth was “exceptional” in both games, Hope said coming up against that kind of opponent was good for his personal development.

“I think that playing against the best in the world usually brings the best out [of me]…. It’s just one of those challenges that I try to grasp with both hands and, hopefully, I can continue in that stead,” he said.

Reflecting on his side’s performance in Sunday’s match, Hope recognised “the fight everyone has shown”.

“We competed in both games. I think we just didn’t grasp the key moments when we needed to. But there’s always a lot that we can look back on and give the guys credit for,” he said.

The West Indies will be playing for pride, hoping to secure a win to avoid a whitewash, in the series climax on Wednesday at the same venue.

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