Captain of the West Indies Jason Holder says 2017 was a reasonably good year for his team but the regional side has to be more consistent.
The West Indies won three of the ten Test matches they played last year, lost six and one was drawn. They defeated Pakistan by 106 runs at Kensington Oval, staged a remarkable five-wicket victory against England at Headingley and won by 117 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo to clinch the two-match series 1-0.
“We are at a stage in our careers where we are looking to make a progression forward. Last year was a reasonably good year for us, we won a couple of Test matches and a Test series. The beauty of winning that series in Zimbabwe is that most of the guys got the feeling of what it was like to be victorious in a Test series for the first time. We got to try to be more consistent, the lack of consistency has hampered us in the past, it is an area that we have to address,” Holder told Barbados TODAY.
The West Indies’ next Test series is against Sri Lanka in the Caribbean from May 30 to June 27 and Holder said the players had been using the time to prepare for the series which includes the first day/night Test match in the region to be played at Kensington Oval from June 23 to 27.
“We are spending the two months break away from Test cricket preparing for the series against Sri Lanka. The team is really looking forward to the series. It is a good time for us to play against the Sri Lankans at home. Like us, they have also lost some of their experienced players in the past two years and are in the rebuilding stage. We have a budding team and they have a young side as well. I think the series will be a good one. The historic day/night Test at Kensington Oval should be quite interesting. The guys are really looking forward to the match. We had the privilege of playing in a few day/night Test matches before. If we concentrate on the basics we always speak about, I think we will emerge victorious in the series,” Holder said.
For the first time in their history, the West Indies had to qualify to play in the International Cricket Council’s One Day International World Cup, and the skipper said he was eagerly looking forward to the 2019 ODI World Cup in England.
“We are looking forward to playing in the World Cup next year. For some members of the team, it will be the first opportunity to participate in a World Cup. We have four series before the World Cup and we have to handle those matches first. It is important that we try a few combinations to determine where we are in terms of the make-up of our final squad. This year will be a very important one for us. If we can perform well in the matches prior to the World Cup and improve our ratings, this would boost the confidence of the members of the squad who are selected for the World Cup,” Holder explained.
The captain said having to qualify to make the World Cup might not have been a bad thing because it provided the opportunity for the team to play together and get victories under their belts against the associate nations and countries who have qualified to play in the World Cup.
“It gives us some momentum, we won quite a few matches and several members of the team registered good performances at various stages of the tournament,” Holder said.
He disclosed there were a couple of challenges in the tournament. Among them, he explained, was that the West Indies had never played against several of the teams before and did not know many of the players they were playing against. According to Holder, the conditions in Zimbabwe also presented a challenge.
“The conditions also presented a challenge but they also levelled the playing field, because most of the games were extremely close and the cricket was entertaining. I am very happy that we have qualified for the 2019 World Cup. It will be nice to prove some of the doubters wrong by reaching the finals at Lord’s. For us, we will keep our underdog tag and hopefully prove some of those who doubt us wrong,” he stated.
Holder’s progress as an all-rounder has continued over the last 12 months. Late last year he scored his second Test century. Asked if he considered himself an all-rounder with the capacity to bat at number six in the Test and ODI teams, Holder said it was a matter of him trying to be consistent and contributing to the team in any way he could.
“I enjoy both aspects of the game. If I am going to ask the guys to be consistent then I got to lead the charge. I think performances always speak for themselves. I just try to be consistent and lead the way with my performances whether it be with the bat or ball,” the 26-year-old allrounder said.