FORMER West Indies pace bowler Ian Bradshaw and ex-England batsman Roland Butcher share mixed views on the out-of-form WI batsman Shai Hope, ahead of the third and final Test between WI and hosts England at Old Trafford, Manchester, which starts on Friday.
Hope has tallied 57 runs in four Test innings, and has been averaging 24.77 in his last 34 innings, with only two half-centuries.
The Barbados-born duo of Bradshaw and Butcher were speaking on the Mason and Guest show, in Barbados, on Tuesday evening.
Asked by host Andrew Mason if Hope should be retained for the final Test, Bradshaw replied, “I will play Shai if I choose to change the opener, because for a decisive match like this, I wouldn’t drop both (John) Campbell as well as Shai.”
Campbell has also been in poor form during the Test series, with 52 runs in four innings.
Bradshaw, who played five Tests, 62 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and one T20 International between 2004-2007, replied, “To fill that with two relatively inexperienced people would be too much of a gamble in foreign conditions.
“One of the two have to go, but probably based on record, Campbell may just miss out, for Shai’s good fortune. If Shai has to be left out, he cannot complain because his returns just has not been good enough.”
Butcher, who featured in three Tests and three ODIs between 1980 and 1981, responded, “Either Campbell or Hope would have to go, (with Rahkeem) Cornwall as a replacement. In terms of which one should go, I would retain Campbell because even though (he) has been struggling, he has got the ability to hit boundaries against the new ball. For me, he would be worth another (try), and he’s left-handed as well.”
Butcher added, “Shai, if he stays in the team, gets promoted to an even more difficult position to open the innings. For his own confidence, I think (Shai) deserves a break, and Cornwall replaces him.”
The WI won the first Test by four wickets at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton but England prevailed in the second Test at Manchester by 113 runs.
Bradshaw, the former Barbados and WI Under-19 captain, is optimistic that the West Indies can win this three-Test series.
“Of course, we can win the series,” he said. “If we can reach the heights that we reached in the first Test, with our discipline and so forth. We have shown that we can compete with this England team.
“I think England would be at their strongest in this match, so it’ll be a tremendous test for us,” added Bradshaw. “But, once again, if this team want to be seen as a team on the rise, if our batsmen want to be recognised as capable of playing at this level, these are the challenges that you cherish.”
Bradshaw continued, “I would like to think that we’ll show up on Friday morning, we’ll learn from our mistakes and we’ll play five days of quality cricket, a full Test match, with intensity. We’ll give this England team a good run and bring back home the (Wisden) Trophy.”