WINDIES TOUR OF INDIA, 2018
Cricbuzz Staff •
Despite several front-line options missing from the line-up, Jason Holder braved a smiling face ahead of the first one-dayer in Guwahati © AFP
The prelude to the five-match one-day series between India and Windies, from a West Indian perspective, was surrounded by the missing names in the squad. The likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine were stark absentees for a variety of reasons, which left the selectors from a small pool of players to pick from. The natural course of action thereafter was having to make do with what they were left with for choice.
To compound matters further, Evin Lewis’s withdrawal from the ODI squad for personal reasons just days ahead of the start of the series, set them back further, which has now resulted in a side comprising of a number of unfamiliar faces. Yet, Jason Holder braved a smiling face ahead of the first one-dayer in Guwahati, stressing on the “opportunity” that was there for the taking.
“It’s hard to lose a player who’s been around and has some success in the particular format we’re playing in,” said Holder on Saturday (October 20) on Lewis’s absence. “No doubt it’s tough because you obviously set your plans and you formulate your plans around the composition we would have selected. But to be fair, at such a late time, it’s tough.
“We’ve got a really good bunch here, though. It’s a young side, a lot of unfamiliar faces. And we’d like to think of it as an opportunity for the unfamiliar faces. It’s an opportunity for them to showcase what they’ve got. It won’t be easy, obviously, with India playing some really good cricket. They’re probably the best one-day side in the world. We expect a really tough challenge from them. It’s all about building towards the World Cup. We’ve got some youngsters here who we want to see and hopefully they can express themselves and make us proud.
“We’ve got a really good squad here. I’m lucky with the guys we have here. I think they are more than capable enough to be successful at this level. I think just to have the opportunity to get themselves into the international arena and make a name for themselves.”
The World Cup is a long way off for Windies, who have 13 games between now and the mega event. For now though, Windies have more than one concern to address. Primary of them being consistency – something which Holder acknowledged unabashedly.
“Consistency is one of the main things we need to look at. Particularly in our batting. We haven’t really been able to get consistent scores in excess of 300. I think 300 is pretty much a par score and a benchmark in ODI cricket of late and no doubt the conditions in India aid that where you’ve got really good pitches, some small fields and fast outfields.
“A lot of times you’ve got to be able to set your benchmark around 300 or 320. That’s one area that our batters really need to look at. We’ve spoken about it in our dressing room and we need be to hitting that mark more often than not and be consistently doing it,” he said. “This team is a really young team. So it’s a matter for us to hit the ground running and understand what it takes to be successful and look to solidify themselves into the squad.”
While Holder chooses to focus on the positive, optimistic that his side is building towards the World Cup, realistically, he would hope the missing names are available then for selection come the global tournament. But for now, he has to make do with what he has.
“It’s a big test to play against India in India. No doubt this gives us a really good gauge to see where we’re at. We’ve had a pretty long year. We started with the World Cup qualifiers and obviously moving down to the one-days in Bangladesh this team are family competent in terms of one-day cricket.
“We had a really good time in the WC qualifiers, which was a challenge you know, playing in Zimbabwe – turning tracks playing against opponents you know very little about. That was a challenge in itself and we had a Test series against Bangladesh, one we felt we should have done a lot better in but we weren’t able to clinch it with confidence. So, all to play for here,” the Windies skipper said.