West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, has insisted returning batsman Shai Hope is in a good frame of mind, despite a disappointing return to the Test arena against South Africa.
Hope spent several months out of the team, after being dropped in November of last year, working on technical and mental issues following a poor run of form.
The 27-year-old’s return against South Africa last week, however, was a baptism of fire, so to speak, as he was uprooted for scores of 15 and 12. Hope, who opened in the first innings and batted third in the second, was, however, far from the only batsman who struggled on the day with the team only managing 97 in the first innings.
Ahead of the start of the second Test, on Friday, however, Brathwaite has given assurances that the batsman is confident and mentally in good shape.
“Just like any batsman, it’s important how they are feeling. He is feeling good at the top but I back him for whichever position, whether opening or number 5, I know he will do a good job,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Thursday.
“He’s always up for the challenge and he’s up for the challenge for any position, opening is obviously different but he’s ready for any position. He is in a good space and that’s one of the main things. Once the batter has that positive mindset and is confident then that’s the way forward.”
Hope will be looking to replicate some of the form from the Windies Best vs Best practice match where he impressed selectors with a century.
The visiting Proteas handed their hosts a deflating innings and 63 runs defeat in the first Test in St Lucia. In total, the Windies managed just 259 in both innings. South Africa batted once and their 322 was comfortable enough to win the game.
Meanwhile, West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach has backed the team to recover mentally for the second Test, following the first Test debacle.
The manner of the defeat was perhaps all the more surprising as the team headed into the series on the back of an exceptional away performance against Bangladesh and a solid home showing against Sri Lanka. Roach has, however, backed the unit to recover its fortitude quickly ahead of the second Test.
“I know the guys had their batting meeting. I’m sure they spoke about what is required to put on a better showing in the second Test match,” Roach told members of the media.
“The dressing room is good, relaxed. We have had a good year of Test cricket. One bad match doesn’t make us a bad team. It is about us remaining positive, trust our process, gain some confidence for the second Test match and take it from there.” (SportsMax)