Barbados TODAY’s Sachin Clarke recently caught up with West Indies Test and One-Day International captain Jason Holder at Royal Westmoreland and they discussed the recently concluded International Tri-Series, the upcoming Test Series against India, his challenges with injuries and how he has progressed as a captain and player over the last 18 months.
BT How was the just concluded Tri Series playing against Australia and South Africa, the number one and three ranked One Day International teams in the world?
JH It was good series for the team. We played some decent cricket throughout the three and half weeks of the series. We showed a lot of improvement and there were positives we could take out of the series. We had two centuries in the series and a five-wicket haul. We looked a lot better as a collective unit. We had the likes of Kieron Pollard returning to the set-up having a huge impact in the series.
BT Did you feel as if the team accomplished their set goals before the series?
JH Yes, I would say so. We showed we could beat the number 1 and number 2 ranked teams in the world, we showed we could compete with the top sides in the world and we did beat them. It was just unfortunate we did not win the final which we thought we had a good chance of winning. To be in the final itself of a tournament of that magnitude, really having the two top teams in the world, just speaks for itself as we were ranked number 8 at the start of the series and to finish in the final was an accomplishment. It’s important we do not relax too much and keep looking for ways to improve in the ICC rankings as qualification for tournaments being so tight it is important we snatch every point we can get.
BT How about your personal goals which you would’ve set before the series begun?
I just looked to be my normal consistent self with both bat and ball. I fell a bit short in terms of my batting goals during the series but I was very pleased with my bowling especially with the way I bowled [with the new ball]. One of the things I paid attention to of late was coming back [later on in the innings] and I felt I came back really well with the opportunities I was presented with. So for me I’m pleased with my personal performance.
BT You suffered a hamstring injury in the middle of the tri-series but came back in the penultimate game of the series against South Africa and gave one your better all-round performances of his career in a West Indies victory. What was going through your mind that day knowing you were carrying an injury?
JH Mentally it was tough, physically it was also tough, but it is something you have to do in order to bring together a strong collective effort. I felt that it was my particular role [as captain] and my goal in setting out for our team achievements and just a situation where I had to go through with it. My body was warm and I felt coming back [later in the innings] would’ve been a struggle in that game.
BT How is the rehabilitation process from the injury going, seeing as you opted out of the CPL?
JH It’s being going good so far. The main thing was to get some rest and allow the injury to repair. I’ve been having some treatment here and there as well for it, but basically a lot of rehabilitation exercise to strengthen the hamstring and strengthen the muscles around it
BT World Number 2 India is in the Caribbean for a four Test series. What are your prospects for the team?
JH It’s going to be a tough series. India are ranked number 2 for a reason. They have a quality batting line-up and a quality bowling [set up] as well. It will be a tough challenge for this young [West Indies] Test team. Our Test team is a very inexperienced one, it is one that needs time to gel together and needs time to put performances together and get to know one another a little bit more. We’re practically in a transitional phase and we’re trying to groom a Test team and it will take time. One of the big things we fell down in the past is batting 90 overs in a day and setting up a good first innings total. That is something I want to keep stressing in the dressing room. It is important we set the tone whether batting first or bowling first.
BT What are your prospects for the tour on a personal level?
JH For me I need some runs. I scored a hundred last year and haven’t had one for a while. I’m at least looking to get a century this series. In terms of bowling, I’m yet to get a 5-wicket haul in Test cricket. So there are a few milestones for me to look ahead to and to look to accomplish. Personally for me it is to pick up that first 5-wicket haul and to look to continue on and score some runs.
BT How has Jason Holder developed from the debutant in 2014 to the captain of the Test Team in 2016?
JH To be fair, I’m not too disappointed with my progression. I’m still relatively young, 24 years old, and in to the international circuit full on. Seeing where I was in 2014 to where I am now is a significant improvement. I probably didn’t expect to have a Test century at this stage batting at number 7 and 8 because it’s tough to get a century in those positions, so I’m not too disappointed with my progression. Obviously I think it could’ve been a lot better. Ideally I would like to average 35 plus with the bat and be able to pick up a few more wickets.
Training camp for the Test series begins on Monday. Are you ready for it?
JH Yeah, I’m ready for the series. I feel well rested and it’s work time. Again it’s a quick turnaround time, just 2 weeks at home, would’ve loved to have a bit more time off but that’s how the international schedule goes.
BT Your International career just started, where do you see yourself in the next 3 to 5 years?
JH My long-term goal is to be one of the best all-rounders in the world and not only compare myself to people In the region but to be compared amongst the best in the world. For me I just want to stand out as one of the best all-rounders in the game in 5 years and to do that my batting average needs to reach 35 plus and I need to bag a few 5 wicket hauls and improve my bowling stats. I don’t think I’m too far off I just jumped up in the ODI rankings (breaking into the top 20 in the bowling rankings).
BT Of the three formats (Test Cricket, One Day Internationals and Twenty 20), which is your favourite?
JH Tough question. To be fair I enjoy all three. I love the challenge of Test cricket. It takes a lot out of the body and you have some bad days that really deter you from even wanting to play Test cricket again. But when you succeed on the bigger stage, for me in Test cricket it goes a long way. In terms of the atmosphere and energy I love T20 cricket. ODI is good too but not as good as Test cricket and T20 cricket.