Shai Hope: West Indies still got a lot of legends

CF Correspondent

CF Correspondent
Publish Date: 18:57 Saturday, February 24, 2024

|| CF Corresspondent ||

West Indies' swashbuckling batter, Shai Hope remained optimistic about the resurgence of their team often referred to as the golden generation. He firmly believes that they are poised for a comeback, setting their sights on the upcoming T20 World Cup in 2024, which is set to be co-hosted by the USA and West Indies.

The West Indies team, who have previously won the World Cup title twice, failed to qualify for the 2023 ODI World Cup. Their most recent global victory was in the T20I World Cup in 2016, and they have not won any major tournaments since then.

Hope, who is playing for Khulna Tigers in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) expressed his thoughts and resolution for the future in an interview with Cricfrenzy.

Cricfrenzy: In between 2012 and 2016, you guys lifted two World Cups. After a long time, you guys are getting the chance to host the tournament. So do you think you can win the World Cup this time?

One thing that's being passed along in the restroom, we are always talking about winning the World Cup and being the first team to win the World Cup at home in their territory.

So I think it's something that we certainly looking forward to. It’s a definite boost for us, us and our fans and everyone is keenly looking forward to this work up. But the successes that we've had in the past, there's something to cherish, but it's in the past. We have to look ahead. You have to make sure we're planning, right? We're preparing properly for the upcoming tournament. And as long as everyone plays their true potential, we gonna win.

Cricfrenzy: After a long time Andre Russel is back on your side. How would that boost your team?

Hope: Yeah, he's in some serious former. No, he's looking fit, he's looking strong. He's looking ready for the task at hand. So as long as he continues to stay fit, keep doing what he's doing. And all the guys are gearing, everyone has been doing everything they need to do to be ready for the World Cup. So it's exciting times ahead.

Cricfrenzy: Nazibullah Zadran said that there are similarities in the wickets of West Indies and Bangladesh is it true?

Hope: I think that you have to play each situation on the surface on the day, because some days you might get extra bounce, you may get more seam moving off the surface, and then some days it may be a slow turner. So is this what adapting to the particular situation that you face? But maybe similar to rest in these, I'd say that we had some conditions are pretty similar, but again, you have to adapt as quickly as a cricketer, especially as a batsman.

So we don't really go into a particular game, saying the pitch is gonna play this way, or the opposition is gonna play this way. You still have to assess the conditions, and then adapt to suit.

Cricfrenzy:  How has been your BPL journey so far?

Hope: Unfortunately, we didn't give ourselves the best chance to qualify this time around, but it's been another good experience for me. Again, this is the first league that I've played outside the CPL and it is allowing me to get an opportunity to continue to grow and experience and express myself as a cricketer. But it's just unfortunate that we, as a team could not cross the playoff round and then go on to win the tournament.

Cricfrenzy: How are you enjoying Bangladeshi food, people, and everything?

Hope: Yeah, the people are very welcoming man. They are always excited about the cricket, so it's great to see everyone here very excited about the BPL the food is different, and the breakfast is great. I love the breakfast here and I'm looking forward to it tomorrow morning as well. Hahah.

But everything about it is another experience that I would cherish. You learn a lot of things from the local guys, even some of the overseas players that we played as well. A great experience. And another one that I could take off the list and say I've learned a lot.

Cricfrenzy: Your ODI batting record is exceptional and your average is remarkable against Bangladesh. Is it easy to pick a Bangladesh bowler?

Hope: No, never say that international cricket is not easy at all. People think that sometimes when you just watch guys play on TV whether they're bowlers or batters, this guy is amazing. he can play the ball so easily. He looks like he has so much time.

But the amount of training, and prep planning that goes into those things, is a lot of hard work, but yeah, I wouldn't say that the Bangladesh bowlers were easy. I just guess it got on top of them in those particular games, but I love batting in Bangladesh, as we all can see. But yeah, I wont say that they were easy to pick. It's just sometimes you have those oppositions that you score more runs against and Bangladesh so happens to be that team.

Cricfrenzy: Is Bangladesh your favourite opponent?

Hope: It is. I don't know if I could see a favourite that everyone has or every territory, a territory I go to, they have their own unique things that I like about it, but certainly Bangladesh and the outfields of us. Pitches are usually very good, especially for ODI cricket and white ball cricket. Boundaries are a lot smaller as well. So if you wanna go big, you got some more help.

Cricfenzy: You have 16 centuries in ODI cricket and now you are playing T20 cricket and Test as well. What changes do you have to make when you play in different formats?

Hope: Honestly, I don't think much has to change. The only thing that you need to focus on is the situation. So that's what usually drives me when I'm batting whatever the situation is. That would dictate how I play. So if I need to strike at 250, then that's exactly what I'll try to do if I need to.

But for an entire day to save a Test match, those are the things that you have to do. So just about adapting to the particular situation and making sure that you're strong in your foundation as a batsman and whatever situation you face, you have the right tools to go there and perform for your team.

Cricfrenzy: When you are chasing a big total, how do you keep yourself calm and cool? What is the secret between that?

Hope: It's just understanding that we have the right tools to do the job. And I always try to get out of any situation. If we need to score 13 in the last over then backing myself all the time to score those runs. So it's just about understanding. The dressing room, the right management, everyone has to support everyone to go to do the job.

But for me, it's just about knowing that you have time because I believe that you have more time than we think, a lot of times as batsmen, we tend to panic a little bit too fast.

But as long as you understand what's to come, you obviously pick your bowlers. You'd understand the conditions of the pitch. You'd understand the dimensions of the ground, you win, fact, all those things, those little things that would help you in chasing down those targets.

It's about just trying to stay as calm as possible and allow the game to come to. You don't try to rush it too much, because sometimes when you do that, you tend to panic. And then you see yourself losing by runs in the back. And when really and truly all you need to do is stay into the contest a bit longer.

Cricfrenzy: You met MS Dhoni, what was your conversation with him? And did he gave you any tips for batting and chasing targets?

Hope: Yeah, he said exactly just that. He said that we literally have a lot more time than we think. And when he broke it down for me, it made a lot of sense, because a lot of times, when we really studied the game, let's say you're chasing a total and you require ten runs in over. If you score ten runs all that means that you just need ten runs in the last over to win the game.
So it may seem like a big total or a big task. But when you really break it down, you say, okay, I'm sure anyone's gonna back yourself to score ten runs off six balls most of the time.. So the aim is just to stay as calm as possible. And some of those words that he said to me stood with me for my entire career.

Cricfrenzy: Recently, we saw that players like Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers were not on the central contract list and as a captain, isn’t difficult for you when your best players are not available.

Hope: That's, again, those are personal decisions. I'm not gonna go against anyone for a decision at any day. They still have their lives, their families, and everyone to look after. But it's gonna be a challenge for all of us as west Indians, especially when you got a 2027 world cup coming up, just trying to find the right pool of players to come together and build a strong unit.

I think they still need to finish with the cricket, but it's also not a good opportunity for other guys to get into that pool and showcase skills.

And then we can probably have a bigger pool to choose from which would be a good headache to have in the 2027 World Cup.

Cricfrenzy: It is even tough for you when you are captain when you cannot get the whole team. And so that's the problem in West Indies. But in recent years, we didn't get a consistent result. What is the reasoning behind it?

Hope: It's a lot of things, man sometimes just you currently put your finger on one thing in particular is just not playing. Sometimes you didn't play our best cricket. We only have ourselves to blame for that really. And truly when you walk up to decrease or you have that ball in your hand to go and deliver your best ball, the execution might not always be there, and sometimes we just let ourselves down in crucial situations. You can put it on to not playing our best cricket where we needed in the most.

But there are a lot of things man. So we just need to learn from these mistakes that we made over the years and try to improve as quickly as we can, because the time is ticking.

Cricfrenzy: We see in some reports that West Indies players love to play in franchise league than their national team. What is your comments about that?

Hope: No, there. I believe everyone, anyone who is in West Indies cricket, they grew up hearing and seeing the West Indies team. They would have their heroes from the past in these teams and anyone who came through the system loves to play for West Indies. I can put my foot finger on everything on that.

So I would never say guys would choose franchise over national because they don't like West Indies cricket. They love West Indies and I can defend the guys for that. So just about trying to make sure we as a collective group, whenever we cross the line for West Indies always put our best foot forward.

Cricfrenzy: You guys had a golden generation generation, like Viv Richard, and Clive Loyed playing. But nowadays, the West Indians are very unstable. So how can you turn up?

Hope: Do you think we are shaky? We've got lots of legends. So don't be fooled. We've got a lot of legends.

Cricfrenzy: Yeah, but in the last couple of years, West Indies didn't qualify for the tournament. What do you want to say about it?

Hope: Yeah, but if you wanna say that you can look at England, very good team in world cricket and they didn't do as well as they could have been last work up.

So sometimes it's just how it goes. One team can win, everyone can win. So you have to put it onto that sometimes. But we've got a lot of improvement to do. And I'm sure as long as we stay on the right path we get there.

Cricfrenzy: What can West Indies do to play well?

Hope: I can't really give up too many secrets I wanna make sure they have too many advantages. But like I said, international cricket is a challenge, but is a great challenge something that is anyone growing up watching cricket or aspiring to play cricket? They want to be involved. They want to be involved in a World Cup playing against the best of the best in the world. I'm sure everyone will have their plans. They will have their preparations in place.

I can't say x or y for the opposition to get too many pointers, but I'm looking forward to playing against all of those guys.

Cricfrenzy: How was Anamul Haque Bijoy’s captaincy in the tournament?

Hope: I wasn't here for the entire tournament, unfortunately, but the games that i've been here, he was very open as a captain. He seems like he's in control of the troops. He's one of those guys that I would have seen and heard about for a long time. Just unfortunately, they said that we can get to the playoff stage, but hopefully, next time he can or the team can cross that line.

Cricfrenzy: You have a PSL contract, but you preferred to play BPL. What is the reason?

Hope: I'm going to PSL after. So I'm just finishing the contract and then go into PSL and say.