The West Indies Test team now faces the reality of life without their most experienced batsman, but the focus is on the future not the past, according to Jason Holder.
Speaking to reporters yesterday at a training session ahead of Wednesday’s first Test against Australia in Dominica, budding all-rounder Holder said his focus was on beating the Aussies.
“The exclusion of Shiv has caused a lot of talk,” he said, but added that, “for me that’s beyond me at this point in time. I (have) just come to focus on cricket. It’s quite important that we put cricket at heart first and try to perform well against Australia.”
While the debate over Chanderpaul’s omission rages, and opinions differ among ex-players, Holder said he and his teammates were looking to continue against Michael Clarke’s men where they left off against England, coming from behind to draw the three-match series 1-1.
“They’re ranked no.2 in the world and that says a lot. We’re currently down at eight and we need to work our way up, so we have to give them respect where it’s due but obviously we are coming to compete and win this Test series so we will be coming very hard at them, looking to be aggressive and at least continue the rich vein of form we had in the England series.”
Holder said further that the Windies had taken “a lot” from the rubber against England. “We did a lot of good things in the last series and just looking to continue in that rich vein and compete very well with the Australians.”
Asked about the mood in the camp under new coach Phil Simmons, the WI one-day skipper was upbeat.
“He’s been doing a very good job so far,” he said of Simmons. “I think most of the guys have bought in to what he’s brought. I’ve personally enjoyed working with him, and hopefully going into the not too distant future we’ll have some very good times. But we are just taking it day by day and trying to put in as much hard work as possible going into this important series.”
West Indies held practice in the middle at the stadium in Roseau yesterday, and asked about the state of the pitch, Holder said, “it seems to be a bit slow. Hopefully over the next few days of cricket it dries out a bit and hopefully we’ll get a good Test match wicket.”
The Test will be Holder’s first match ever in Dominica and he is hoping that the surface is a “little better” than last time the teams played there in 2012 when Australia won by 75 runs with the Australian spinners getting 16 wickets on a turning pitch.