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Headingley hero Shai Hope went to Bede’s school in Sussex

Hope had played two seasons of cricket in England during his teens.

Shai Hope
West Indies batsman Shai Hope. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Shai Hope wrote his name in history when he became the first batsman to record centuries in both innings of a Test played at Headingley. He was also the first ever to achieve that feat since first-class cricket was first played at this ground in 1890. During the course of his monumental hundreds, Hope helped West Indies to win their first Test in England since 2000.

‘Hope was exemplary’

Michael Atherton, who is a renowned broadcaster since the early noughties, was a part of that Test match in June 2000. The essence of the win in Leeds is humongous. When Hope was scripting one of the better wins for the West Indies since the turn of the millennium, Allan Wells – director of cricket at Bede’s school – was beaming with pride. It is the same school Hope went to as a 16-year old after he was picked as a scholar of a programme funded jointly by the Barbados Cricket Association and the school. Two seasons of cricket in England – West Sussex to be precise – gave Hope an opportunity to take his game to another level. Wells recalls Hope as a disciplined and focused pupil.

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‘His approach to practice was exemplary. I remember stopping him before he went into a net once and asking him what his objective was for that session. He told me it was the same as every other time he walked in. I said: “What’s that?” His answer: “I never want to get out”.’

Hope puts a price on his wicket, a characteristic which was on full display during his 664-minute stay at the crease during the course of the second Test. Wells, who still shares a close association with Hope, was amazed to see the determination of Hope at a very young age.

“What stood out about Shai? His passion for the game – it’s in his blood with his brother Kyle and father Ian – his determination to improve, and after watching him practice, I knew he would be willing to work really hard, to sacrifice a lot to fulfill his potential.”

The West Indian led the school for two years

Despite him being in England as an outsider, Wells appointed him as the captain of the school team for two successive seasons. Wells says that people who witness his sparkling innings have not forgotten it six years on.

“He was a very mature cricketer, and a very natural leader because of his obvious determination to succeed through hard work. He was therefore a great role model for everyone that came into contact with him,” Wells said.

“We will never forget him for the wonderful young man he was but also the lasting legacy he has left. In Sussex schools cricket people still talk about Shai and some of the innings he played against Eastbourne College and Ardingly College. The people that witnessed them have not forgotten.”

Pressure back on hosts

England are under pressure going into the final Test at Lord’s. Wells was quick to remind Hope to send him a ticket with his name on it for the final Test at the iconic venue. The challenge that lies ahead of Hope is to bring consistency to his game. His success will only increase the expectations set on him by a number of people.

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