Former Pakistan batsman Salman Butt, 37, has come out with scathing criticism against West Indies batsman Shai Hope, the man behind the valiant century in the Second ODI against India, a knock that didn’t end up on the winning side.
The point that the former Lahore-born leftie made against the Barbadian, in no uncertain terms, touches upon the matter we’ve all heard before: Strike rate!
The following is what Butt had to say:
“If you play 135 balls and score 115 runs, you are being a disadvantage for your team, and that too when the wicket is very good for batting. His knock is not justifiable in such batting conditions. He does play beautifully, but his strike rate isn’t ideal. That was the same case when West Indies came to Pakistan too.”
Having said that, that is not all that the former left-handed Pakistani batsman said; he’d also add further:
“Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran scored big runs for West Indies. But they played quite slowly during the middle overs and didn’t take enough chances. The Indian bowlers bowled well during that time, but when there are two set batters, you have to keep the scoreboard ticking.”
But having said the above, here’s the problem that most “critics,” some of whom who have accomplished a lot and some, who’ve quite simply become a thing of the past, don’t seem to get.
For starters, Hope represents a side that is – still- finding itself in international cricket. It couldn’t be truer for a young generation of West Indians who have set about discovering themselves in the post-Carlos Brathwaite, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine era, and as seen earlier this year, even the Pollard era.
That Gayle and Narine haven’t still retired but hardly feature in internationals fundamentally means that they are as good as semi-retired even if that sounds funny.
Moreover, in players like Hope, Pooran, Joseph, Mayers, to quote a few, rests the important fulcrum around which West Indies white-ball cricket revolves.
To make a case for Shai Hope, who’s understandably (and a simple visit to his stats can affirm it) not the fastest scorer in white ball cricket, it’s important to understand his contribution to Windies game.
But we shall come to the vitality of the 13 ODI centuries in another piece some day for it’s important to recollect a glaring reality often forgotten.
When Hope began in white-ball cricket, ODI’s to be precise, which was 2016, his strike rate was 73.
Now to those who are quick to critique without having massive regard for the thing called constructive criticism, here’s what Salman Butt completely ignored:
At present, i.e., 2022, Shai Hope’s strike rate is 77. So it is not that Hope “IS NOT” improving his strike rate. As a matter of fact, in 2021, his ODI strike rate was 79, the highest it has ever been.
Agreed, these are times of fast paced cricket, where one has to be on top of the scoring rates from the ball go.
But hey, Hope’s a batsman in the classical mold. He’s the consolidator, the giver of resolute starts. His main job, unless we’ve always that wrong, is to lend solidity to the order.
Going berserk from the ball one wasn’t his thing ever. It may never be, unless Cricket really turns on its head and surprises us with something for which they wouldn’t be too many haters.
But the key thing is- is the Bajan not improving? Do the numbers point to something.
Moreover, there is something that Hope’s critics, who make no mistake, aren’t Gayle or AB themselves are forgetting; they’re underplaying the fact that to level criticism is easy but offering a holistic view takes effort.
Shai Hope’s strike rate in the ODI’s against The Netherlands was north of 81.
Shai Hope’s strike rate in the series against Pakistan, the country to which Mr. Salman Butt belongs, was 92.
Moreover, he’s touching 80 already with a game to go in the ODI series that his Windies have unfortunately conceded to India.
So how’s it that Hope, the giver of hope to a batting line up that desperately needs some, isn’t trying?
Lastly, Sir Salman Butt, do you remember your ODI strike rate, after playing 78 ODI’s for the bastion of brillance that is Pakistan?
It’s 76. Here’s proof:
Carry on Shai, you are going great! You can do even better!