BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – West Indies batsman Shai Hope believes the Caribbean side can defy the odds and win next year’s ICC World Cup in England.
The 24-year-old, a principal member of the Test and One-Day International sides, said while the Windies side was a quality one, the key to any such accomplishment, however, would be attention to process and preparation.
“We believe we are good enough to go all the way and win the World Cup, but it’s a process and we have to go about it step by step,” said Hope, who averages nearly 38 from 33 ODIs.
“I’ve always wanted to win a World Cup, growing up that has always been a goal and I know I can say that for all the other members of the squad.
“The format is a good one. As long as we put in the performances we will win games and that would take us to the second phase. It’s a process and preparation is key.”
West Indies will be regarded as rank underdogs at the May 30 to July 14 showpiece in England and Wales next year, after being forced to book their spot via the 10-team World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe last month.
Entering as favourites, West Indies showed their quality over the associate and lower-ranked Test sides to reach the final before losing to Afghanistan.
While they finished the preliminaries unbeaten, however, things got trickier for the two-time World Cup winners in the Super Six stage. They lost the opener to Afghanistan and were then forced to pull off their fifth-highest successful run chase in ODIs to beat Zimbabwe in their second match. Even then, they faced a must-win against Scotland in their final second round fixture and managed to nick a five-run win under Duckworth/Lewis, after rain and an umpiring blunder went in their favour.
Hope said qualifying for the World Cup had been a dream come true for the entire squad and they were now highly motivated to spring a surprise in the actual tournament. “Everyone dreams of playing in a Cricket World Cup and we went there (Zimbabwe) with that in mind,” he explained.
“It was a tough tournament, the conditions were challenging and the opponents were hungry, but we did the job and earned our qualification.”
He continued: “Now we look forward to next year’s World Cup – which is the biggest event in the sport. I’ve always had a dream of playing in the World Cup and I will be working towards doing well for the team and the West Indies fans.
“The aim is to go there, do well in the first phase and push for a place in the semi-finals.”
The Windies will have an increased schedule of 50-overs cricket in the build-up to the tournament, with a minimum of 20 ODIs expected in the next 12 months.
Later this year, they host Bangladesh before travelling to India and Bangladesh in the months following for two more series. Early next year, England will visit the Caribbean for a full series, which is expected to include five ODIs.