New Delhi: Legendary cricketer Brian Lara feels Shai Hope, who scored a magnificent hundred in the first ODI which West Indies won by eight wickets against India, is the “best option” available in the Caribbean team capable of performing in all the three formats of the game.
On Sunday, Hope scored an unbeaten 102 and alongside Shimron Hetmyer (139 off 106) stitched together a 218-run partnership as Windies chased down 288-run target with utmost ease in Chennai and took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Lara said that Hope could be the talisman in the mould of the former West Indies captain himself or Chris Gayle due to his ability to play in all formats of the game.
“Presently, I think Shai Hope is the best option we have in terms of a batsman who can play all formats. He is not a bad attacking player, pretty much a decent Test player. He will stand out,” said Lara.
“Pooran, Hetmyer and even Brandon King the new find, these are guys that you can mould. I think that they will mature a little bit later than others. Some guys like Sachin Tendulkar — at 16 he was already a mature cricketer — or Carl Hooper matured very early. There is nothing wrong with maturing later in life.”
Skipper Kieron Pollard had spoken about the West Indies being on a mission to become a better ODI team. They are currently placed ninth on the ODI rankings and had a largely dismal showing in the World Cup earlier in the year. Lara feels that they need to take their time in the middle-overs while batting in ODIs instead of going for shots and jeopardising their wicket.
“I could go back to when I played, I was pretty much a diminutive player, not very strong, and I felt that the one day game helped me manoeuvre well,” he said. “The middle overs are very important. When you compare the 20-over game to the 50-over game, the disparity is huge.
“Some players are maybe caught in the mindset of attacking every single ball. You have to understand that it is a seven-hour game and a lot can happen within it.”