Shai Hope reflects on ‘humbling’ Wisden award
Hope also praised the inclusion of three women on the Wisden list.
Shai Hope was humbled to be among Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year but insists the twin hundreds that earned him a place on the list were not as important as helping the West Indies to victory.
The 24-year-old rose to prominence last August by becoming the first batsman to register a century in either innings of a first-class match at Headingley as the Windies claimed a surprise Test win over England.
Hope’s fourth-innings unbeaten ton on the final day was particularly momentous, as the tourists chased down an improbable 322, and led to him being distinguished on Wednesday in a landmark year for Wisden.
England Women trio Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver and Anya Shrubsole and Essex seamer Jamie Porter completed the list and the inclusion of three females in a previously male-dominated field was not lost on Hope.
He told Press Association Sport: “It was bit of a shock when I got the news and obviously a huge privilege being named among the five. It is a very humbling feeling.
“It was a historic year because it was the first time three ladies were also honoured. That is a big step forward. I see how the game is progressing, I see how it’s being supported by all the fans around the world. I think it can only go forward and get bigger.”
The Windies’ victory in Leeds came as a shock after their drubbing at Edgbaston in the series opener.
Even though they went on to lose the Lord’s decider, Hope feels the Windies’ performance in Yorkshire proved they should never be underestimated.
He said: “Truly, the win was more satisfying than the two hundreds because after the thrashing in the first game by the English guys at Edgbaston, the way we played in the second game was phenomenal.
“I guess there was no better time to score my first and second hundreds in Test cricket and I really did enjoy being the guy that pulled us out the wool.
“That was my first away win that I played in and the way we did it, to show how good we can play cricket and how competitive we can be, that was a better thing.”
Wisden’s assessment of Hope concluded that he is now the West Indian wicket all attacks crave most, but the Barbadian added: “I’ve heard it a couple of times but I wouldn’t say that.
“It’s a collective effort so on your day you can be unstoppable and then it can go the opposite way.”
Hope amassed 233 runs at an average of 46.6 despite struggling with a knee injury in the recent World Cup Qualifiers as the Windies booked their spot at next year’s 10-team competition.
Hope said: “We went there with one goal and you could see everybody was in it together, in it for one purpose, we knew we had to get to England and Wales.
“I tried to get us to the World Cup, no matter how much pain it caused me!”