‘A’ game needed to beat Pakistan, says Hope

Batsman Shai Hope believes West Indies will have to be at their best in order to beat Pakistan in the three-Test series starting on Thursday.

The Caribbean side have endured a strife-filled tournament, losing all six games so far spanning the three-match Twenty20 and One-Day International series and now face a huge task to defeat the number one side in the game’s longest format.

“They are a good side. [They’re] up at the top of the rankings so you have to bring your A game when you play against them,” the 24-year-old Hope told reporters here Sunday, following the drawn three-day tour game against the Pakistan Cricket Board Patron’s XI.

He added: “We (West Indies) are maturing. Obviously you learn as time goes by so it’s about gaining that experience and continuing on as much as you can.”

West Indies face a Pakistan side unbeaten in a Test series in two years and who have won 10 and lost just four of their last 17 Tests in that period.

Selectors have picked a strong squad for the day/night opening Test starting Thursday in Dubai, with the likes of batmen Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali, along with leg-spinner Yasir Shah and left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar all included.

And with West Indies having struggled against spin during the series, Hope said the batsmen would need a big effort against the likes of Yasir and Zulfiqar.

“They are class acts so it’s just about applying yourself and trying to combat their plans with yours, and trying to bat as long as possible and get big runs in the series,” Hope pointed out.

Hope was one of three West Indies batsmen with half-centuries during the three-day tour match here, scoring a polished 76 on Sunday’s final day.

Left-hander Darren Bravo fell just short of a hundred when he was dismissed for 91 while opener Kraigg Brathwaite chipped in with 55.

Hope said the game was crucially important for the West Indies in getting adjusted to the “pink ball”, with the Test just days away.

“It is good to get a good sighter before the Test starts, especially under lights. We have never played pink ball so it’s good to get an opportunity out there in the middle to occupy the crease as long as possible so you can get used to the conditions,” he explained.

“The main thing was just to get used to the conditions. The more time you spend out there, the better you’re going to get so that’s the main aim.”

Hope said the game had been a good challenge against a quality side packed with Test experience.

“They were [competitive]. They had about eight Test players in their side so they had some experience there as well,” he noted.

“As I said, it was good to get used to the conditions and coming up against a decent side as well.”

(Taken from windiescricket.com)