West Indies great Michael Holding singled out Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, and Shai Hope as the three most talented youngsters in Caribbean cricket today, saying the three gun talents could make any team in the world.
Hetmyer, the 23-year-old bruiser from Guyana, has lit the stage up with his big-hitting talents thus far, and captained West Indies to the Under-19 World Cup title in Bangladesh in 2016. Hope is seen as a grafter amidst a sea of destroyers and has put in some clutch performances, especially in the one-day format, where he averages 52.20 at the top of the order. Pooran, the least experienced of the three, is the only one to have not played Test cricket so far, but his limited-overs game has been promising, with an average of 49.05 in ODIs.
“Most people can look at teams and look at people and say, ‘Yeah, that guy looks as if he knows what he is doing.’ And I can call three names immediately that I think have a lot of talent in the batting department: Pooran, Hetmyer, Hope,” Holding said on the Mason & Guest podcast.
“Anyone going to tell me that three guys cannot bat? And there are others, but I am picking those three because those three, I think, are the most talented in the last two-three years. It’s now about making sure that these guys exhibit the right discipline to get the best out of themselves. And I’m absolutely sure that there are other youngsters around the Caribbean that can come around that nucleus and give us a good team.
“When I look at cricketers, I look at who amongst these guys can make to other teams around the world. That is how I look to see that we have talent. And those three guys, I think, can make most teams around the world as batsmen.”
As for the West Indies team by extension, Holding said that what was important was to bring together the best talent in the world and then extract the full potential out of them by having the right kind of management and the right kind of professional structures that would allow the talent to blossom.
“I see light at the end of the tunnel because I see talent,” he said. “It is a matter now if we can garner that talent, if we can produce the best of that talent, and then produce, of course, a good team. Because individual talent ain’t gonna go as far as a good team with a good team spirit and a good management structure around that team.”