WI skipper Hope embracing new responsibilities

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Shai Hope –

Shai Hope says he plans to fully embrace his role as the team’s principal run-scorer and gloveman, along with his new responsibilities as captain, after carving out a 14th One-Day International hundred to help propel West Indies to a 48-run win over South Africa in Saturday’s opening ODI here.

The 29-year-old was recently appointed to replace Nicholas Pooran at the head of the ODI squad and celebrated the honour in style with a superb unbeaten 128 at Buffalo Park, in his first innings since becoming captain.

Hope is the Caribbean side’s marquee batsman with an average of 50 from 105 ODIs and also keeps wicket, a combination of roles which the player admitted could be tiring at times.

“It is (a lot of responsibility) but I’m definitely going to take it on full speed. It’s just about giving my all to the team and if that means I have to bat all 50 overs and then keep, then that’s exactly what I’ll do,” said Hope, who arrived at the crease in the 10th over and batted until the end of the 50 overs, before donning the gloves for the 42.4 overs of the South Africa reply.

“I’m getting support from all ends so it’s just one of those things where I need to fit into the role. I’ve got support from the guys on the field and off the field. I’ve just to keep embracing that responsibility and when the time comes to shine, I’ll try to do so.”

Opting to bat first in the second ODI against the backdrop of last Thursday’s washout of the opener, West Indies stormed to 335 for eight – their highest-ever ODI total against South Africa and the highest overall in four years.

Hope was at the centre of their enterprise, the right-hander facing 115 deliveries and striking five fours and seven fours to dictate the tempo of the innings and ensure the visitors plundered 93 from the last 10 sovers.

“I thought it was a difficult pitch to start on. I think batsmen coming in found it challenging but we got a big score in the end. I think as soon as you get in you’ve got to go big.”

West Indies face South Africa in the final ODI of the three-match series at JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.