West Indies batsman Shai Hope is less than 70 runs short of overtaking Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as the leading ODI run-getter this year. Hope, with 1225 runs on 2019, is 67 short of Kohli’s tally of 1292 runs and 43 shy of Rohit’s 1268 runs and believes the motivation of overtaking two of world cricket’s finest batsmen promises to help him contribute better.

“Thanks for heads up (on numbers). Obviously, I have to ask the bowlers to do some damage as well,” Hope replied with a smile of the eve of the second ODI between India and West Indies in Vizag on Wednesday.

“As a batsman, you want to contribute as much as possible and if it helps the team win even more satisfying. Hopefully, we can remove them at the top and then get some big runs and get to the top of that run getters list.”

Hope scored an unbeaten century in the first ODI in Chennai and along with fellow centurion Shimron Hetmyer, helped West Indies chase down the 288-run target set by India. It was Hope’s fourth century of the year to go with seven fifties at an impressive average of 61.25. Hope’s fine numbers have also made him a hot commodity ahead of the IPL 2020 auction on Thursday but the incentive of playing the Indian Premier League comes secondary for the West Indies wicketkeeper batsman.

“I am sure it would be but I am sure that’s secondary. We came here to play a series against India so whatever comes secondary is secondary. I am sure some of the guys will be looking forward to the auction but we have an India series to play and that’s the main thing right now,” Hope pointed out.

Reflecting back on the knock, Hope explained 280 was a par total to chase at the MA Chidambaram Stadium under lights and understanding his need to stay at the crease for long. After losing Sunil Ambris cheaply, Hope and Hetmyer added 218 runs for the second wicket, and placed West Indies in a winning position against the home team.

“It was about pacing my innings to the team’s requirement. We only had to chase 280 and we wanted everyone to be on the same page,” he explained.

“My role was to stay, knock around and not give any wickets. It’s about doing what the team requires. If the chase required me to step it up, I can do that as well. It’s a tough job but it takes a toll on the body but I want to remind myself that everyone in the Caribbean is supporting us. If I am required to keep 100 overs and then asked to bat, I am going to do that.”

Besides Hope, Hetmyer played a brutal knock, smashing 139 off 106 balls with 11 boundaries and seven sixes. Hope explained how seeing Hetmyer bludgeon the Indian bowling made him even more assured about the kind of innings he had to play.

“I think it’s difficult for me when you see someone at the other end going so easy. You just want to join the party but I have to keep reminding myself that I can’t let the opposition make inroads,” he said.

“If one man is attacking at the other end, it’s not necessary to have a go if the run rate is under control. Key is to be aware of what the team needs.”