A new Hope in Leeds

West Indies’ 50-over captain Shai Hope has signed a short term contract with Yorkshire Cricket Club to participate in the upcoming County Championship season.

The 29-year-old Barbadian will play in the first three matches of Yorkshire’s red ball campaign in Division Two as a direct replacement for newly appointed club captain Shan Masood who was selected to represent Pakistan in their home T20 series against New Zealand.

Managing Director Darren Gough told the club website: “He brings so much experience – one thing we are lacking is just a little bit of experience – so he just gives us that and comes into the squad for this first game.”

In 2017, Hope rose to prominence as a 23-year-old when he became the first man in Test cricket to score twin hundreds at Headingley (147 and 118 not out) to help West Indies successfully chase their target of 332. Up until then, no team since Sir Donald Bradman’s Invincibles made 404-3 in 1948 had chased that many on Yorkshire’s storied turf and won.

Gough made special mention of that knock when underlining why they opted for Shai.

“We felt we needed just the one experienced face in and we went for Shai. He has been playing well for the West Indies in One-Day matches. He has got a record of playing Test cricket – he had his two hundreds at Headingley before for the West Indies,” said Gough.

Hope made his first class debut in 2012-2013 and his super season in 2014-2015 where he scored 628 in nine matches propelled him into consideration for the West Indies Test side. He racked up 538 runs at an average of 67.25 in 2015-2016- the highest average among the top ten run scorers and made his maiden first class double hundred at Kensington Oval, his home ground in March 2017.

At present, Hope averages 34.52 in First Class cricket. Yorkshire kick off their red ball season at home against Leicestershire Cricket Club today before facing Gloucestershire Cricket Club on April 13 at the Bristol Cricket Ground. His last match for the White Roses will be against Sussex Cricket Club at The 1st Central County Ground on April 20. (JC)

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