West Indies registered a fantastic win over Afghanistan inside three days in Lucknow. Following that, West Indies captain Jason Holder thinks that his side can still punch above weight and might push for a top-half finish – at fourth or fifth- in the World Test Championship table.
“I think by the end of the Test Championship, I don’t see it being impossible for us to be fourth or fifth in the world,” Holder said in a press conference after his team’s nine-wicket victory on November 29. The one-off Test against Afghanistan is not part of the Championship as Afghanistan aren’t one of the nine teams that qualified for the inaugural two-year competition.
West Indies began their World Test Championship against India where they were whitewashed by the Asian side. After this series against Afghanistan, they will host South Africa at home for a two-match Test series before traveling to New Zealand. They will play three Tests in 2021 – two of them against Sri Lanka at home and three against England and Bangladesh away from home.
“That would be a significant achievement in two years. We’ve got some tough series coming up: we’ve got England, then South Africa coming to the Caribbean, we’ve got New Zealand – all good cricket sides. But I don’t think it’s beyond us to beat them. We’ve just got to make sure we keep building and developing. Once we do that, we can compete with any side in the world. A realistic target in two years would be to be ranked three or four in the world,” Holder said, in his assessment of the West Indies side, and the path forward.
There were signs of improvement compared to the India series, albeit against weaker opposition in Afghanistan, as Holder & Co. showed utter domination across the two days and an hour into the third.
“I don’t regret the decision at the toss. In the end, we played a really good cricket game, and we were clinical. I asked the guys to make sure we don’t leave any stones unturned. Probably would have liked a little bit more in our first innings in terms of our batting, but having said that, we had a lead of 90. I think leads win games. Once you have a hefty lead, it puts pressure on the opposition,” Holder said.
The skipper expects his batsmen to carry this effort into the future and show consistency going forward when West Indies take on tougher oppositions in the World Test Championship. Holder emphasized on the need to show good batting application in the first innings to pose a tougher challenge against stronger teams.
“I’ve said it in the last couple of series we’ve played: more responsibility needs to be taken by our batters. Once they do that and take the bull by the horns, I think our bowling attack has shown it can compete with any attack in the world. We’ve shown glimpses of brilliance, which is all well and good, but consistency is the name of the game.
“To be a world-class team, you have to be consistent with your batting. You have to get 20 wickets of course, but you have to set it up with the bat. First innings count for a lot. If we can put teams under pressure with our first-innings scores, more often than not, West Indies will be up there among the top-ranked sides in the world,” said Holder, exuding confidence on behalf of his team.
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