Hundreds for Hope, Bravo Key to Convincing Selectors, Says Sir Curtly

Sir Curtly Ambrose
Curtly Ambrose former fast bowler of the West Indies during training at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Sydney, Australia, Saturday, January. 2nd, 2016. (Photo: Steve Christo) (Photo by Steve Christo/Corbis via Getty Images)

Sir Curtly Ambrose has urged both Shai Hope and Darren Bravo to push on to triple figures in the ongoing President’s XI tour match, in order to send a strong message to selectors ahead of the two-Test series against Sri Lanka.

Hope struck an aggressive unbeaten 60 while Bravo carved out an attractive, unbeaten 30 as the Cricket West Indies President’s XI ended day one of the contest on 103 for one, in reply to Sri Lanka’s modest 172.

Bravo was recently named in a 13-man West Indies squad for the first Test bowling off Sunday but is averaging a paltry 11 from his last six Tests while Hope is attempting to plot a route back after being dropped last year following a run of poor form.

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“They are both looking very well. They both look to be in good form,” said Sir Curtly, one of the President’s XI coaches.

“Obviously they’ve come out of the ODIs with good form and they’ve translated that into this two-day game now, and I just hope they can go on tomorrow and get a century each.

“The Test match is coming up and they will want to go into the Test series with some good form behind them, especially Darren Bravo who is in the first Test match squad.

“Shai Hope isn’t but there’s still a long way to go, and once he can get a big score he can put his name in the selectors hat and we’ll see what happens after that.”

Both batsmen hit centuries in the just-concluded ODI series, Hope stroking 110 in the opening match and Bravo hitting 102 in the third game last Sunday.

Hope scored heavily in the series with 258 runs to extend his purple patch in ODIs which has seen him rack up an impressive career average of nearly 54 from 81 matches.

Trinidadian fast bowler Anderson Phillip also impressed with a three-wicket haul on Wednesday, bowling with pace to hurt Sri Lanka’s innings early on.

The 24-year-old, who made his international debut in the recent third ODI, watched as veteran Kemar Roach claimed both openers before he removed Dhananjaya de Silva (17), Oshada Fernando (1) and Roshen Silva (47).

“He’s one of those guys that is very aggressive and I love to see that in fast bowlers – you must have some sort of aggression,” Sir Curtly pointed out.

“He bowled in good areas, he bowled with good pace on a basically slowish pitch and he was very impressive. I’m quite happy with the way he bowled and I’m sure he will get better the more he plays.”

Sir Curtly said he was pleased overall with the President’s XI’s clinical approach to the tour match at Coolidge Cricket Ground, the only fixture prior to the Test series.

“I am very delighted because everything we spoke about we put into play and it worked perfectly for us,” said the fast bowling legend.

“We thought we would starve them (Sri Lanka) out, give them nothing and we bowled in good areas, which to me was very, very impressive.

“We nicked off quite a few and at the end of the day, it was a good complete bowling performance and I’m glad with the way the guys bowled today.”