Holder Talks Up West Indies Chances In Tough Test Ahead
West Indies captain Jason Holder expects his team will be up to the mark, as they expect a spin bowling-friendly surface, when they face Afghanistan in the one-off Test match in the coming week.
The Test will be the first between the two teams, as the city of Lucknow also prepares to host its first Test. First ball on Wednesday is at 9:30 a.m. (12 midnight ECT/11 p.m. Tuesday JMT). This will be the sixth and final Test for West Indies this year.
Holder is the world’s leading allrounder in red-ball cricket and said there is a great appetite for success among his players.
In his career so far, the six-footer has emerged as one of the game’s leading performers with an impressive Test match double of 1,887 runs (average 33) and 101 wickets (average 27) in 39 matches.
“We are really up for this, we really want to win this match and we really want to end the series with a win and end the year in a high, where Test cricket is concerned. I don’t think we play another Test match until we tour England next year,” Holder said in an interview with CWI Media. “Having started the year with a series win, it would be fitting to end the year with a series win. Afghanistan will be no pushovers especially in these conditions which they are familiar with. I expect they will play plenty spinners. It will be up to our batsmen to negotiate their spinners and do it well… they have some really good spinners, but I believe we have the quality to do that. Our bowling unit has done well over the last three to four years – arguably one of the best bowling attacks in the world. Hopefully our bowling attack can continue.”
Earlier in the year, West Indies beat England 2-1 at home to regain the prestigious Wisden Trophy after a decade. They, however, lost 0-2 to India at home in late August into early September.
Overall, West Indies have played 544 Test matches – with 173 wins, 175 draws, 195 defeats and one famous tie against Australia in Brisbane back in 1960.
Since arriving in Lucknow at the start of the month, West Indies were dominant early in the series with a 3-0 clean sweep in the One-Day International series. They, however, lost 1-2 in the Twenty20 International series.
“In the Caribbean you get more bounce than we have seen in the surfaces here, even though we have noticed the pace of the pitches back home has slowed down a bit. For me the skill level of our bowlers is what has really done it for us. We have Kemar Roach, who has been tremendous and who is approaching 200 Test wickets, and we’ve also seen great improvement and commitment from Shannon Gabriel, who even though he’s not here, has been good for us.” Holder pointed out.
“They have earned success mainly due to their tremendous skills, rather than due to pace. In this day and age, you have to be skillful with the ball. We also have spinners who are eager to get going in these conditions because, as we all have noticed, the conditions will favor the slow bowlers. Overall, it will be a good challenge and I’m looking forward to the start of it.”