“We really don’t have an all-format player” – Leon Johnson Hope for Shai in WI T20 World Cup squad

When one thinks of T20 players, particularly batters hailing from the Caribbean, the name Shai Hope may not immediately come to mind.

However, Leon Johnson, manager of the Guyana Amazon Warriors, firmly believes that the crafty wicket-keeper and right-handed batter deserves a more prominent role in the West Indies’ T20 lineup.

Guyana Amazon Warriors batsman Shai Hope played a crucial role, emerging as the tournament’s leading run scorer, amassing an impressive 481 runs at an average of 53.44 with a strike rate of 140.3 including hundred in the tournament. Also he named the Player of the Series for the 2023 Caribbean Premier League

Hope scored 32 not out as the Amazon Warriors cruised to a nine-wicket win over the Trinbago Knight Riders in the finals.

The Amazon Warriors bowled out the Knight Riders for 94 with Dwaine Pretorius taking 4 for 26 and Gudakesh Motie taking 2 for 7.

Saim Ayub top-scored with 52 not out to take the Amazon Warriors to their first CPL title in their sixth final.

In an interview, Johnson described Hope as “a world-class player”.

A recipient of Guyana’s fourth-highest National Award (Golden Arrow of Achievement) Johnson, a former West Indies Under-19 captain and Test and ODI batter, led Guyana to an unprecedented five consecutive Regional Four-Day titles and retired from cricket after helping Guyana secure its sixth title under his captaincy.

Johnson pointed to Hope’s successful stints in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) with the Khulna Tigers and in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) with the Lahore Qalandars.

“Shai is world-class, and he has matured a lot. He had some pretty good innings last year as well. I think people are forgetting that he played with the Amazon Warriors,” he said.

Johnson reflected on their shared journey, saying, “I was fortunate to be there when his career started and I know he’s always a hard worker. There’s a reason why everyone is having their debate about who is the best in the Caribbean, and his name is always there for a reason.”

Looking ahead to next year’s T20 World Cup, which is being hosted in the Caribbean, Johnson believes that the West Indies selectors face a tough task in choosing the squad.

Hope has played 19 T20s for the West Indies, with a highest score of 55 and an average of 20.61.

“I hope that selectors had a good look and Shai gets his opportunity in the West Indies T20 team. I fully believe that he will. We really don’t have an all-format player or batter, but Shai is definitely the person who can play all three formats for the West Indies.,” Johnson said.

Currently, only Chris Gayle (25), Brian Lara (19), and Desmond Haynes (17) have scored more One Day International (ODI) centuries than Hope (15).

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