May 20, 2000

Positive youth realises dream

'It's always a dream to score your first Test hundred, especially at home in the West Indies,' the 23-year-old Jamaican left-hander said after his impressive 165 at Kensington Oval.

It took him just four Tests to achieve his mission.

'I was just remembering what I've been through in the past and the things I have been looking forward to, and this is one of the things that I've been looking forward to. It's a great moment.'

It was witnessed by a crowd of about 7 000 that was thrilled by aggression that has not been seen by any West Indies batsman in four previous Tests this season.

By the close of Day 2 of the second Test against Pakistan, the West Indies were 283 for five in reply to the visitors' 253, thanks mainly to Hinds.

From the time he spanked Waqar Younis to the cover boundary for the first of his 23 fours to when he miscued a pull of the same bowler six hours later, Hinds was in complete command.

'It's nice to know that you can attack and defend. I did a bit of attacking today and it paid off,' he said with a touch of modesty.

Some may want to believe that he set out to destroy the mighty Waqar or he approached the innings with some degree of arrogance, but the former Jamaica Youth team captain dismissed those suggestions.

'I was just taking it ball by ball, over by over and playing towards the team plan,' he said.

'The objective of the team is to win this Test match, and there are small goals we set towards that.'

Hinds was often troubled by Musthaq Ahmed's leg-breaks in the opening Test and in the preceding limited-overs competition, but the top Pakistani spinner hardly posed a problem to him yesterday.

'I have assessed myself over the past few weeks playing against Mushtaq Ahmed and I've worked out what I have to do where that is concerned,' he said.

There was, however, a period in which Wasim Akram's high-quality left-arm swing made a telling impression. Hinds, though, refused to be outfoxed.

'You expect to get good bowlers coming at you with good deliveries,' he said.

'I said to myself, `Just hang in there.' It was just a difficult moment and I had to stick in and try and play it out for my team.

'There was a defining point in the innings where I assessed the pitch at that particular time. I knew where the ball was and took my chances as they came up.'

Prior to this Test, there was a bit of speculation that either Hinds or his fellow Jamaican Chris Gayle would make way for teenaged Guyanese Ramnaresh Sarwan.

The selectors left out Gayle, but Hinds would not be drawn into a comment about if there was additional pressure on him.

'I have no control over team selection,' he said. 'What I have to so is to get out there and do what I have to do: bat and field.'

Coach Roger Harper lauded Hinds' effort, but expressed disappointment that he did not survive until the close.

'I think he's worked hard and he thoroughly deserved the success that he got here,' Harper said.

'He was playing a few shots, but the ball was in the right place. He was still playing the ball on its merit. Once that's happening, there is nothing to worry about.

'All he's got to try and do is make sure he executes them properly.'

There was one shot, however, he failed to control, a miscued pull six minutes before the umpires offered the batsmen the option to leave the field with the light fading.

'I'm disappointed not only at the way he got out, but more at when he got out that way,' Harper said.

'We were looking for him to come back tomorrow and really set the team up for a sizeable lead.'

An advantage of about 150 is the target, Harper said.