first_imgBy Ali MartinSHAI Hope has been tipped to become a “potential great” of the game by the West Indies head coach Stuart Law, with the young batsman having shown staggering self-belief before and during their famous Headingley run chase.That the series with England is level at 1-1 going into the third Test at Lord’s tomorrow comes down chiefly to Hope’s stellar twin hundreds last week, the second of which, an unbeaten 118, helped chase down 322 for a famous five-wicket win.Law, who also lambasted those who had criticised his young side, revealed his orders to the players before the final day at Headingley were simply to assess the chances of a win after tea, only for Hope, 23 years old and averaging 18 from 11 Tests before his first-innings 147, to insist otherwise.“I remember sitting down next to him in the dressing room and saying that the plan is: we’ll bat to tea, see where we are and if we’ve got wickets in hand we’ll work out if we’re going to have a go or not,” recalled Law.“He looked at me, and I said: ‘What’s wrong with that?’ He looked at me again, shook his head and shrugged his shoulders – and I said: ‘OK, what’s your plan?’“‘We’re going to win,’ he said. That’s God’s honest truth and he went out and won the game.”On how far Hope can progress, Law replied: “I think the fact he wasn’t over the top in his celebrations just means he’s hungry, he’s driven. He doesn’t want to stop where he’s at now – he wants to keep going.“The challenge for Shai is to stay fit and healthy. If he does that, with the drive he’s got and the mental toughness and will to work, that will just make him better and better. He’s pretty good now, but he’s got the potential to go great.”Law claimed he always had the belief in his players and had some words for his former Essex team-mate Nasser Hussain, following a newspaper column after the fourth day in which the former England captain suggested Jason Holder’s side had flagged due to the demands of Test cricket being less than Twenty20.“People make assumptions all the time,” said Law. “But he doesn’t know the characters that are inside that dressing room – he doesn’t even know me and I played with him at Essex. Not a lot of these players play T20 cricket anyway. I think it was great we sent a big humble pie to go and chomp on in the commentary box.“I’ve seen these guys at close quarters. There’s immense confidence there. There was probably a couple that doubted their ability to cope at this level, but I hope those doubts are now well and truly put to bed and they can start flourishing.” (The Guardian)last_img