DUBAI, UAE (CMC):
West Indies Test and ODI skipper Jason Holder says the regional team remains a powerful force despite the absence of some top players heading into the series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
West Indies are missing some of their big stars in the T20s and ODIs, including explosive opener Chris Gayle and all-rounder AndrÈ Russell.
Trinidad and Tobago left- handed batsman Evin Lewis was called up to replace Gayle at the last minute, while Kesrick Williams, the fast bowler from St.Vincent and the Grenadines, has replaced Russell.
“It’s obviously a big loss to lose certain players, but obviously, we have some very capable players in the dressing room to fill their boots,” said Holder.
“Evin Lewis was called up at the last minute to replace Chris Gayle, and we saw what he did (100 against India at Lauderhill). I don’t think we are short on personnel. It’s just a matter of everyone getting in and getting used to international circuit.
“We have played a very vibrant brand of cricket, especially in the limited overs, and I think whoever is coming in has the ability to do the same.”
West Indies start their tour with a warm-up game against Emirates Cricket Board XI at the ICC Academy on Tuesday before the opening T20 match against Pakistan on Friday.
“We are just looking to start the series well. It is important that we start well,” said Holder, after an intense net session at the ICC academy on Friday.
“We are coming off a very good win against India in the T20 series. We are coming in with a bit of confidence and, hopefully, we can carry it in the heat here in Dubai.”
One major factor the Caribbean side will have to contend with is the climate in Dubai.
The 24-year-old Barbadian, who celebrates his next birthday in November, says his teammates would need to become familiar with local conditions quickly.
“I just think it’s a situation where we understand these conditions as best as we can and as quickly as we can and get acclimatised to the conditions here. The heat is not something we are accustomed to,” said Holder.
“We come from the Caribbean, which is quite hot – at times it can get hot – but the humidity in the Caribbean is not as it is here. It is just important to acclimatise ourselves to the conditions here as quickly as possible and play the cricket we are accustomed to.”
West Indies and Pakistan will play three T20s, three ODIs, and three Test matches.