Captain of the West Indies Jason Holder says it is refreshing working with interim coach Richard Pybus. This, despite the Englishman’s appointment as interim coach of the West Indies team receiving criticism throughout the region since it was announced earlier this month.
Speaking to the media this afternoon on the eve of the first Test against England at Kensington Oval, Holder pointed out that this was the first time he was working with the former director of cricket with Cricket West Indies in his capacity as the coach.
“It is really refreshing working with him, he has copped a lot of criticism off the field, but that is something I can not really control or get involved in. We got a job to do and we have to be supportive of each other as much as we possibly can be. We cannot concentrate on the peripherals and things we cannot control. We got our goals to decide as well, it is a matter of us concentrating and doing our jobs and once we do that, I think we are going to have a pretty good series,” Holder said.
Holder described the upcoming Test series as one of the biggest for the West Indies and said he was looking forward to it.
“It is one of the biggest series for the West Indies to play. The last time we played against England it was a highly competitive Test series with them starting the series well and then we fighting back right here in Barbados, so I am looking forward to it. They have been playing some good cricket so it is obviously going to be a good task,” the skipper said.
When asked about the nature of the pitch, Holder replied that it was difficult to tell how it would play.
“It has been a bit up and down in recent times, it looks a little better than I have seen it in the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, it holds up nicely and has some good carry.”
According to Holder, consistency by the regional team will be a major factor in the series.
“The lack of consistency has plagued the team in the past, particularly with the batting. I just think we need to start the series well in terms of putting some runs on the board in the first innings. By doing so we would be making an early statement. They obviously got a quality bowling attack, but we have shown glimpses of what we can do against their bowling attack. We had a really good time against them at Headingley in 2018. We really fought back well in that series. The last time they were in the Caribbean we fought back here in Barbados, we definitely know we can perform against this attack. It is a matter of being consistent and sticking to our game plan for long periods,” he said.
Holder praised his fast bowlers stating that they had been very consistent in the last couple of series.
“I think our fast bowlers have been very consistent in the last couple of series. They have done a hell of a job trying to take 20 wickets more often than not, and trying to fight back in games after our batting let us down on a few occasions. I think they are maturing. We got a few seasoned campaigners in Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel especially. These guys have really led the bowling attack nicely. I have tried to support them as best as I can. I Just hope that we continue to head in that direction and continue to make strides,” Holder said.
He stated that the fast bowlers were quite pacey with Gabriel bowling at a good clip and Alzarri Joseph had the capacity to be quite rapid as well. Holder said rookie pacer Oshane Thomas could be a feature even though he was a bit raw. Holder said Thomas really got the ball through at serious pace.
Former England opening batsman Geoffrey Boycott has described the West Indies as a side full of very “ordinary cricketers” in a newspaper article. Responding to the comment Holder quipped: “I guess we have come to expect these kinds of comments before a series. Many times such statements get our players going and that can lead to a good contest,” Holder said with a smile on his face.
Holder, who was included in the ICC’s team of 2018, said while he was pleased with his achievements in 2018, he would have rather preferred to see the West Indies at number three on the ICC Test rankings.
“I would feel a lot better with West Indies being ranked in the top three than I being included in the ICC team of the year. My aspiration is to do continue to try my best to help the team move up the ladder. Hopefully, if I continue in this vein a few more guys would follow suit and have that mentality as we move forward,” he explained.
All tickets have been sold out for the first two days of the Test which starts at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Kensington Oval.