Shai Hope may not be in the West Indies Test setup right now, nor is the Barbados star likely to be involved in the shortest format in the build-up to the World Cup later this year.
However, he is arguably the best one-day batsman in the Caribbean.
Hope’s numbers in ODI cricket are outstanding, with 3289 runs from 73 innings at an average of 52.20.
The 27-year-old already has 17 fifties and nine centuries in the format, with a highest score of 170 against Ireland in 2019.
Under usual circumstances, he would be a nailed on inclusion at the top of the order for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka, a nation he has enjoyed success against in the past.
Yet, his participation has been in doubt due a long period of inactivity.
Hope missed the recent 3-0 series defeat in Bangladesh after declining to travel amid Covid fears, only to test positive for the virus alongside his brother, Kyle, in advance of the Super50 Cup.
It was initially reported that the Hope brothers had been ruled out of the entire tournament [ESPNCricinfo], but Shai returned for what would be the Pride’s final two matches.
He played on for 16 against the Windward Islands in his first professional innings for almost six months, but sent a message to the West Indies selectors with a fine 51 against Jamaica Scorpions on Sunday.
The Barbadian took a while to get going but eventually found his groove, striking a six down the ground and driving sweetly through the off-side on several occasions.
His 81-ball knock was eventually ended by Fabian Allen but although he may have been disappointed not to go on to triple figures, he still scored almost a third of Barbados’ runs as they collapsed to a 51-run defeat that saw them exit the tournament.
Hope also donned the gloves in the two matches, taking three catches and affecting one stumping, proving that his reflexes haven’t been dulled by his time away from the game.
Had the classy right-hander not made an impact upon his return to Barbados colours, it may have been difficult for the West Indies panel to bring him in for an international series.
Hope impressed, though, and has likely done enough to earn selection as the Windies take on the side currently ranked one place above them in Antigua next month.