With his tenure as West Indies coach coming to a close shortly, Stuart Law has once again suggested that stylish middle-order batsman Shai Hope has a major part to play in the future of West Indies cricket.
Speaking in an interview on the current India tour about his relationship with Hope, Law noted he believed that the young Barbadian does not realise just how good he can be.
“I’ve got a close working relationship with a lot of the boys. Shai, you watch him bat and he scores very pretty runs. And you’ve got another kid, Rovman Powell, who, when I first got here, struggled against the spinning ball, struggled in defence. Now, he’s turned into our most improved white-ball cricketer.
“I don’t think Shai realises yet how good he can be. He probably says he does, but deep down I don’t think he realises how good he could be. It’s a constant conversation. He always tells me he wants me to be honest. I tell him when he’s had a good day, I tell him when he’s had a bad day. He can trust me. If I need to pass information down the chain to one of the coaches, I won’t mention the specifics that we spoke about or the way it was spoken. He’s a fine young player, a dedicated professional. He’s now got to step up. He’s got to grab the opportunities he’s been given because he’s leaving far too many runs out in the middle,” Law said.
The Australian who is to take up a coaching position in England next year also addressed the recent excellent bowling form of captain Jason Holder, noting much of that had to do with the lanky all-rounder taking on more responsibility.
“The only thing I’ve done for Jason is given him more responsibility. People say he’s still very young, but he’s played a lot of cricket. We can’t just keep saying these guys are still learning. You’ve got to learn but you’ve also got to develop.
“Jason started swinging the ball massively back in the Caribbean during the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh series. He bowled well in England without getting the rewards. Probably bowled slightly the wrong length, but he quickly worked out that if you’ve got to swing the ball big, you’ve got to pitch it up. As soon as he did that, he got wickets against Bangladesh. He has developed, and it’s not through constant badgering and constant chatting,” he said.
Law said Holder still had to work on aspects of his leadership and could not always be Mr. Nice Guy.
“You give him an idea, he might say one thing, might do another thing. You might not talk to him at all and let him work it out in the field and he’s actually gone and embraced that and started to take more control. His leadership still has some way to go. [He needs to] understand that sometimes you can’t be nice to everybody, and not everyone’s going to like it. As a captain, you’ve got to be the big brother, and sometimes a school teacher. And that’s how you’re going to command respect. Whatever you say should happen,” Stuart noted.
Stuart added: “As a captain, he’s responsible for the results in the field along with me. As responsible for preparation off the field as on. If it doesn’t affect you here [points to heart] and mentally, nothing will. You’ve got to have that passion and desire for the team to do well.
“He’s a driven young man who’s also very thoughtful, which I think is standing him in better stead. He’s also highly skilled. He can bat, he can bowl, and for a big man, he’s got great hands in the field and can move pretty well. So he’s got the skill.”
Law explained that not a lot affected Holder mentally.
“He’s gone through the wringer. He gets abuse daily from the Caribbean saying he’s not good enough, and that just drives him forward. I can relate to that – people telling you – you’re not good enough and shouldn’t be playing. To keep making that work for you is a credit to him. Other players take it on board and take it to heart too much. You can’t listen to what we call ‘the bullshit’. You can only listen to what your team-mates are telling you and what your coaching staff and family are telling you,” Law stressed.