‘Everyone tries to follow him’ – Romario Shepherd praised Hope’s leadership

West Indies readied themselves for their ICC World Cup qualifying campaign with a convincing 91-run victory over Scotland in their first official warm-up yesterday.

All-rounder Romario Shepherd believes his rest for the recent United Arab Emirates series was pivotal in his preparation for the ICC World Cup Qualifiers starting this weekend.

Captain Shai Hope (57) and all-rounder Romario Shepherd (53) struck contrasting half-centuries as West Indies recovered from 45 for four in the 12th over to reach 264 all out in the penultimate over at the Harare Sports Club.

“[The rest] was more mentally. When the skipper called me and told me I was going to get an opportunity to take a rest for a couple of days, it was really refreshing for me to go home and spend some time with the family,” Shepherd said.“I really enjoyed those 10 days and to come back here on the grind again, I’m ready.” Shepherd appeared on top of his game against the Scots, producing a typically flamboyant innings laced with five fours and three sixes at number nine.

He helped rally the Caribbean side in a 73-run, eighth wicket stand with Roston Chase (30) after the innings slumped to 154 for seven in the 36th over.

“I came out looking to spend some time in the middle because I’ve been playing a lot of T20 cricket and this is my first opportunity to play 50-over cricket in a while,” Shepherd said.

“So basically when I went out to bat with like 15 overs remaining, I said if I can set myself up to get some runs at the back end [that would be good], and I did that easily today because the pitch dried out, and it was quite easy to bat at the back end there.”

He continued: “Also with the ball, I wanted to bowl more overs but unfortunately I didn’t get to get the amount of overs that I wanted because we all had to participate in the match.” Shepherd sent down three overs of pace which cost 10 runs.

Shepherd was one of two players with half-centuries, captain Shai Hope top-scoring with 57 in a 77-run, fifth wicket partnership with Keacy Carty (32) which helped pull West Indies around from danger at 45 for four in the 12th over. And Shepherd praised Hope’s leadership, both with the bat and in the dressing room.

“First of all, as a leader and as a captain, the guys have been buying into all the plans that he’s set out so he’s leading on and off the field, because he’s a hard worker and everyone tries to follow him,” said Shepherd, who has played 18 One-Day Internationals and 26 T20 Internationals.

“And also with the bat, he’s been our best batsman over the past couple of years and also one of the leading batsmen in the world, and some of the young batsmen coming up can take a page out of his book.”

Leg-spinner Yannic Cariah (4-46) and off-spinner Roston Chase (3-43) then wrecked the Scots’ run chase, the innings collapsing to 173 all out in the 34th over.

West Indies face United Arab Emirates in their final warm-up today before taking on United States on Sunday in their first group game of the qualifiers.

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