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Overtime pays off for Hinds


Haydn Gill
St. John's - On his return to the Caribbean after the West Indies' ill-fated tour of New Zealand, Wavell Hinds was anything but convincing as a batsman.
Four months later, the 23-year-old Jamaican left-hander can hardly put a foot wrong.
Many fans did not even think he should have been given his Test debut in light of unspectacular returns in the Busta Cup.
When Hinds appeared in a match against Barbados at Sabina Park in late January, he was struggling for form, confidence, rhythm and anything else that a batsman needs to suggest he is at the top of his game.
He can now claim to have reached that point.
A maiden One-Day Inaternational century, a first Test hundred and a Rover car, part of his Man-Of-The-Series prize in the just-ended Test series against Pakistan, are there to emphasise that claim.
The turnaround was not achieved overnight.
'It is a great feeling to be Man-Of-The-Series after all the hard work I'd put in the training camp and before,' he said in reference to the nine-day camp ahead of the opening Test against Zimbabwe.
'Now you can see the returns after the hard work.'
Even after a commendable start against Zimbabwe and a more successful tri-nation limited-overs series that also involved Pakistan, the doubters were of the view that Hinds would struggle against Pakistan's two world-class spinners in the Tests.
'After the One-Day series, there was a lot of speculation about me playing the spin, but I must thank the coaches (Roger Harper and Jeffrey Dujon) who have worked it out a lot with me," Hinds said.
'It's been a lot of hard work, extra work after the guys have left. It's just a matter of sticking to the basics and doing what you know best.'
The result was that the former Jamaica Youth captain was able to impressively compile 340 runs (ave. 68.00), including his high-quality 165 in the Barbados Test and his crucial 63 in the second innings of the decisive Test which ended with a West Indies victory at the Antigua Recreation Ground on Monday.
The latter was spoilt by his careless dismissal to the last ball of the fourth evening and his apparent altercation and exchange of words with off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq.
Hinds has apologised over the incident, which included a collision with the bowler on completing a second run.
'It wasn't the best of what we wanted, but things happened and I'm sorry for what happened.'
He has now established the No. 3 spot as his own, but when he played at youth level, he was principally an opening batsman and even returned to the top of the order for this season's Busta Cup semifinal and final, in which he scored a century.
'It was good to be batting at No. 3 for the West Indies,' he said.
'It's a premier position in the batting order. It was a tough task at times. You just had to stick in there and hang in.'