LONDON: West Indies batsman Shai Hope could become a modern “great”, coach Stuart Law said on Tuesday ahead of the Test series decider against England.
The tourists’ 23-year-old batsman starred in their shock five-wicket victory in the second Test last week, becoming the first player in Headingley’s history to hit a century in both innings of a match.
West Indies — who were once the most feared team in world cricket — were widely written off after they crashed to defeat by an innings and 209 runs in the first Test at Edgbaston.
But they now have the chance to win their first Test series in England since 1988 after Hope’s first two centuries in Test cricket — 147 in the first innings and an undefeated 118 in the second innings.
“He’s a rock, isn’t he?” said Law, who recalled a telling conversation with Hope before start of play on the final morning in Leeds.
The coach of the Caribbean side suggested to the player that the tourists, chasing 322 for victory, could bat until tea, then see if there was still a shot at pushing for victory.
“He looked at me and I said ‘What’s wrong with that?’,” said Law. “He looked at me (again), shook his head and shrugged his shoulders — and I said ‘OK, what’s your plan?’
“‘We’re going to win’ (he said). That’s God’s honest truth… (and) he went out and won the game.”
The Australian added: “I think the fact he wasn’t over the top in his celebrations just means he’s hungry, he’s driven. He doesn’t want to stop where he’s at now, he wants to keep going. I think that’s a great sign.
“He’s a tough cookie. He’s pretty good now, but he’s got the potential to go great.”
Law retained faith in his charges despite their first-Test trouncing.
“I’ve seen these guys at close quarters — I’ve talked to them,” he said. “Just the responses they give you, there’s immense confidence there.
“There’s probably a couple that doubted their ability to cope at this level but I hope those doubts are now well and truly put to bed and they can start flourishing.”
The third and final Test starts at Lord’s on Thursday.