MANCHESTER, England – Captain Jason Holder today said West Indies were still to produce the “complete game” and urged his charges to capitalise on the “crucial moments”, as they looked to halt their losing slump and revive their flagging World Cup campaign against unbeaten powerhouses India tomorrow.
The Caribbean side started their World Cup quest with much promise when they crushed Pakistan in their opener at Nottingham but things have gone horribly wrong since, losing four of their last five games to find themselves eighth in the 10-team standings on three points.
They have, however, found themselves in positions of strength but failed to cash in. Against Australia, they reduced the reigning World champions to 38 for four after opting to bowl in Nottingham but let them off the hook.
Left with 288 to chase, the Windies were 190 for four in the 35th over but suffered a late order collapse.
There were similar indiscretions against Bangladesh and New Zealand which served to derail their campaign and Holder said there was a need to correct these if they were to finish the World Cup strongly.
“I think at the start of this tournament we all match up every single team and most captains say that it’s a competition where if you play good cricket on any given day, anyone can beat anyone,” Holder told media here.
“And it’s just a matter of us putting together a complete game. We’ve shown glimpses here and there what we can produce and as a side we just haven’t brought it together collectively more often than not, and it has hurt us in games before.
“So tomorrow is another opportunity for us to bring it all together and play a perfect game.”
He continued: “We’ve had some close games in our World Cup campaign so far and it just shows with us playing a few more scenarios a bit better, who knows what the result could have been. We look back on the games that we’ve played and we definitely didn’t seize crucial moments in certain games.
“If you put it into perspective of the teams that are doing well, they’re doing those good things and seizing crucial moments within the game. That’s what’s required in the tournament such as this one.
“I think with the exception of the game where we were outplayed by England, I think all the other games we’ve been in them with a chance to win them, but we didn’t seize crucial moments in those games.”
Holder said his young batsmen needed to become the “rock and soul” of the team and not the minor players. “They’ve got to set up games and learn to close them out,” he said. “And great young players are great players, full stop. They get themselves in, set themselves up and they go very, very big.”
West Indies’ last two outings would have been especially heart-breaking. Against Bangladesh in Taunton, they left the Asian side with a record run chase and they easily completed it with 51 balls to spare.
And against New Zealand, they fought back from 164 for seven in pursuit of 292 at Old Trafford only to lose with six runs needed from seven balls.
Holder said it was important West Indies did not allow the manner of the defeats to impact them negatively.
“It’s been two crushing defeats and we felt them drastically over the past couple of days,” Holder acknowledged.
“But it’s a situation where learning must take place. I think it’s significant for everybody just to draw on their own resources and look at themselves in the mirror and try to make sure that learning takes place.
“And it’s a matter of us just to keep going. There’s no point to drop our heads. We’ve got three games left in this campaign and we’ve got to just win all three games.”
India present a monumental challenge for West Indies. Not only have the Virat Kohli side won four of their five matches so far but they have lost only twice to West Indies in their last 10 ODIs inside the last three years.
However, Holder said there would be no retreat from his side as India matches were always fixtures they relished.
“I think everybody’s upbeat for the occasion. Playing India is always a big game for West Indies, and we’re looking forward to it,” he stressed.
“First we need to finish the campaign as best as we can, and our objective is to win all three games.”
SQUADS: INDIA – Virat Kohli (captain), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav.
WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Sunil Ambris, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas. (CMC)