While Darren Bravo deservedly reaps the plaudits as the NAGICO Super50’s best batsman, Bajan Kyle Hope’s industrious One-Day debut for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force cannot go unheralded.
The 27-year-old was fourth on the scoring charts with 227 from seven innings at a 37-plus average but more so, he laid the platform in the top-order with the likes of Evin Lewis and Kjorn Ottley.
Captain, Jason Mohammed, labelled him as “one of the most integral pieces of our puzzle” en route to retaining the Clive Lloyd trophy.
On his tag of ‘A New Hope’, the right-hander laughed it off after hearing the skipper’s rousing appraisal. In regards to joining the ranks of a rival, he said, “It’s been pretty good. I’ve been welcomed with open arms (by TT) and I’ve been enjoying every minute of it.” With the finals win seeing TT edge Barbados 2-1 in the Super50 matches this year, he added, “Playing against my home country is always an interesting experience.
It always gives you mixed feelings but at the end of the day, I’m playing for a different team right now and the aim is to win games for that team.” In training sessions, Hope isolates himself with coach, Gus Logie, and focuses more on batting than socialising, epitomising that of a consummate professional, also asking the coach’s permission to conduct interviews, even after lifting the title – TT’s 12th ODI crown and first back-to-back since the 2009 and 2010 double.
His biggest takeaway from this tournament? Batting with Bravo.
“At the end of the day, Darren’s a world class batsman so you must enjoy it. It’s always nice to bat with Kjorn as well, whom I’ve known for a while. Opening with Evin’s also been really great as with him being the aggressor, it makes life a lot easier (for me),” revealed Hope.
The unsung hero is also fourth on the WICB Professional Cricket League (PCL) batting charts for the Red Force with 211 runs from eight innings, averaging just over 27. He admitted that in his last two four-day matches – a 74 against Guyana and 31 versus Windwards — boosted his confidence heading into the Super50.
He divulged that he benefited from a familiarity with the Oval pitches as well which he found tended to spin.
“The finals pitch was the best pitch. Most of the other wickets were a bit slow but it just calls for a little more application,” he added.
Hope relayed that he was now aiming to transpose this form into the longer format while continuing to balance life away from Barbados. On his bittersweet venture thus far, he concluded, “It’s always difficult spending time away from home but at the end of the day, it’s a job. I miss home but I’m getting the job done over here (Trinidad).”