posted on 2019-06-05 13:59:39
posted by Michael Harrison
Shai Hope's resurgence as a top flight batsman across formats has been the best thing to happen for West Indies over the last 12 months. There was never any doubt over his talent or strokeplay but it needed a breakthrough year to put him into the top bracket of strokemakers. The 2017 England tour when he scored twin hundreds to win the Headingley Test was a starting point but Hope needed a bigger feat.
Cut to the 2018-19 season and that's precisely what he has achieved. Initially a slow starter in ODIs in terms of strike-rates, Hope's gameplay picked up speed as he gained form and confidence. Having a classical base and technique as a batsman does help, and he has made optimum use of his talent during this period, consistently churning out runs to force himself into the top five rankings of ODI batsmen.
In a team filled with power-hitters, Hope is certainly the glue that looks to bind the rest of the batting together. Having said that, he is no mug either when it comes to ball-striking and some of the recent T20Is have shown that aspect of his game too. Brutality and precision when mixed with consistency is a terrific combination and Hope seems to be owning this at the moment.
Australia's aggression and pace will face their biggest challenge in Hope who is probably the best equipped to not only to deal with hostile fast bowling, but also in playing the big knocks. He is also the only player who can bat in several gears and West Indies will rely on him big time in this fixture. For the Aussies, utilizing the new ball will be pivotal if they want to nip him out early.