Hope’s game a head thing
Shai Hope is a man on a mission.
Hopefully, he’s just four games away from its completion.
Barbados’ Under-19 captain and leading run-scorer has already led his side to the 2012 WICB Regional Under-19 Three-Day Title.
Now he has his sights set on retaining the One-Day Championships as well.
And the 18-year old Hope has already made his intentions clear, with scores of 139 not out and 62, which have helped Barbados to victories over the ICC Americas and Trinidad and Tobago, respectively.
The former Queen’s College student has only just returned home after completing two years of studies in England, and he hasn’t wasted any time in getting down to business.
He scored three centuries on his way to amassing 405 runs, the third highest of the competition, and his average of 81 was second best only to that of Trinidad and Tobago’s Jeremy Solozano, who topped the charts with an average of 90.33
In an interview with MIDWEEK SPORT yesterday while relaxing at Divi Southwinds where the Barbados team is currently staying, Hope credited his breakout performance to an improvement in his mental toughness as well as to hard work and dedication.
“Last year and the year before that I didn’t perform to the best of my ability, so this year I came with the attitude that I was going to score some runs,” he said.
“My mental game has really improved and I have been working extremely hard to ensure that I score enough runs to put Barbados in a strong position every single time that I go to the crease.”
Not that scoring runs or winning titles have ever been an issue for Hope.
As captain of Queen’s College in 2008, he led them to victory in the LIME Under-15 Competition and while in England he captained St Bede’s School to victory in the Sussex Cup, while having superb averages of 69 and 114 in his two years on his way to being the school’s top batsman.
And he has listed his stay in England as one of the factors which helped him to further develop his batting skills.
“England has been an eye-opener. It is very different and the conditions were different to what I had experienced before.
“My time there helped me to gain more experience and it definitely helped to develop my cricket. The opportunity not only allowed me to experience a different level of cricket, but also a very different culture and lifestyle,” he pointed out.
With just four games remaining in the 50-over competition, Hope, whose brother Kyle Hope plays for the Barbados senior team, has high hopes of helping Barbados to do the “double”.
He revealed that it would be a very special achievement if they were able to do so in front of their home fans.
“To win both competitions at home would be a big achievement because
I don’t think it has ever been done before,” he said.
“I want to keep on making big scores, but only if it means that those runs help Barbados to win matches and ultimately win championships,” he remarked.
“If I score a lot of runs and at the end of the day Barbados does’t win, then those runs wouldn’t have counted for anything.”