Holder embraces underdog tag

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By Avenash Ramzan

Labelling his side as the underdog, West Indies captain Jason Holder believes it is a good tag to have going into the three-match ODI series against Pakistan, starting Friday in Guyana. West Indies have lost their last two ODI series against Pakistan home and away, and they head into the series on the back of a humiliating 3-1 series loss in the four-match T20 series.

Speaking to local media operatives on Thursday in the Conference Room of the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, the Barbados all-rounder said he has no qualms about his side being second best.

“Pakistan is ranked higher than us and they have obviously beaten us in the last (ODI) series we played in the UAE and they started this tour well, so I believe we’re probably the underdogs now. It’s not a bad tag to have; the expectation is pretty much on Pakistan to beat us and that’s incentive for our guys that we must go and we must show that we can beat Pakistan,” Holder explained.

He continued, “They’re just one step ahead of us in the ranking and I don’t think they’re impossible to beat. We showed them that we can beat them in the T20 series; we’ve played some pretty good cricket in T20 series, but we haven’t seized crucial moments. As I said before, we spoke a lot in the dressing room about seizing the crucial moment; keeping the momentum in our hands as long as possible and I think once we do that we should be better off at the end of this series.”

West Indies have had issues batting out the full 50 overs in recent years, and Holder spoke about the approach in training to ensure that is rectified going forward. He also spoke of a workable total at Providence.

“Again, it is all about setting it up; each batsman has to give themselves a good enough chance to score. I think the nature of the Guyanese pitches here you tend to have to spend a little more time on these surfaces to accumulate runs,” Holder pointed out.

He added, “I think once we set it up nicely, in the recent past 200 has been a big score here; I don’t know how the wicket will play tomorrow, but if it is true to form I think in excess of 200 is a competitive score in Guyana. That’s our benchmark basically, for us to reach 200 and anything beyond that is obviously a plus. Regardless if you bat 50 overs or not I think once if you hit that target that’s positive in a sense; we just need to back our bowlers to go out and defend that.”

West Indies are missing a group of senior international players, who are currently campaigning in the VIVO Indian Premier League, making the current squad extremely short on experience. And Holder believes the current group should be given time to grow as a unit, if West Indies cricket is to improve.

“I think over time you would understand if it’s the right group or not, but everybody has to be given the opportunity to perform. Everybody has been selected here because they’ve done well in regional cricket and you know everybody deserves to be here. You can’t just judge people off a short period of time; you have to give them the time to gain experience. Everybody has spoken about experience and I think it’s obviously important, but at this present time we’re faced with what we have and I know once we go into international cricket, spend some time, (and) adopt to the circuit I don’t see why we can’t perform,” Holder told the media. 

Friday’s game will start at 09:30h. Gates will be opened from 07:30h.

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