Old Bede's: Alumnus Shai Hope Bede's Visit
At just 21 years of age Bede's Alumnus Shai Hope is already becoming a cricketing legend in his own right. Shai made his Test debut in 2015 against England, having played just 14 first-class matches at the time. He made his first-class debut in 2012-13, and following a superb season in 2014-15 when he scored 628 runs in nine matches making him the fourth highest run-getter in the tournament, he was soon called up to play for the West Indies Team.
On a stopover at Gatwick on his way to play for the West Indies vs Sri Lanka Test Match in Galle, I was lucky enough to catch up with Shai when he came by to see his Bede's coach and mentor, Bede's Director of Cricket, Alan Wells.
Shai was 17 when he joined Bede's. Alan Wells spotted his talent whilst visiting Barbados, and recruited him immediately for the school. Alan placed him straight into Captaincy for Bede's 1st XI Cricket Team. Rather than being intimidated by this, Shai found this a huge compliment and it was one of his best memories at Bede's. Taking on his role with gusto Shai led the Bede's Cricket Team onto win Sussex and Regional finals and were runners up two years in succession in the National 20/20 Cup. Coming from a school in Barbados with no cricket structure or academy Shai felt that at Bede's he was in a 'professional, first class or international cricket' training facility.
Having settled into Dorms Boarding House, he made many good friends with his casual charm, friendly demeanour and love of sport. Shai's first encounter of the British winter was a cold one, resulting with him being stuck in England due to the snow and no flights departing from Gatwick. Eventually the weather cleared and he was able to get home to Christchurch for a dose of warm Barbadian sunshine. This however didn't put him off returning, and he came back to complete 2 more years at Bede's.
Having grown up in Barbados Shai never ventured far until he left for Bede's. He was eager to travel, noting that sharing a house with boys from around 17 different nationalities and cultures really opened up his eyes and broadened his views. He now travels around the world with his cricket tours.
Not only is Shai a talented cricketer he also loves football and basketball, and whilst at Bede's he captained and the 1st team for basketball. In the evenings after prep he and his friends would go down to the MPH and play football and basketball for fun. He also frequented the gym everyday 'The facilities onsite really helped as I could go straight from my boarding house to the gym after prep'.
Some of his favourite teachers at Bede's include his cricket coach Mr Wells; Miss Algar whom he notes is a charming lady, who is very easy to get on with and relate to as a student; and Mr Jordan due to Shai's love of art.
After a few quick photos and brisk walk to show Shai his life his life-size picture in the MJ Pavilion, Shai was heading back to Gatwick. Shai we wish you all the very best for the future and look forward to seeing you again soon.