West Indies skipper Jason Holder will be a pleased captain after watching his team’s spirited fightback in the second Test against a strong Indian side. The young side remained on the backfoot for the first four days of the match but an inspired batting display on the final day helped them to earn a memorable draw. With the third Test starting on August 9, the team would finally look to use the momentum and deliver a good performance once again. Speaking to the media on the eve of the third match, Holder spoke on various topics ranging from the team combination, pitches and much more.
On the team combination:
If you look at the pitch here, there seems to be a little bit of grass. There’s a strong possibility that we may have a change in terms of our bowling department, we may think about the extra seamer. That’s pretty much it. This wicket here, over the years, has played quicker than most pitches in the Caribbean. For me, I think it’s the best cricket pitch in the Caribbean in terms of carry and assistance for the quicker bowlers. So, there’s a strong possibility that you may see an extra seamer.
On the opener for the penultimate Test:
To nip it in the bud, Leon Johnson will open the batting tomorrow. He’s the next opener in the line, so he will come into the squad to replace Chandrika. I wish him the very best, hopefully he’ll get some runs.
On the pitch:
A number of factors. We tend to look at the body and try to find if the surface beneath is hard. We look at cracks at the initial stages. Particularly, the last time in Jamaica we came two days before the Test, it was quite dry. And the next morning, it was very very wet. So, it’s hard to just predict. Most of the time you end up making a final decision on the morning and seeing how it looks on the first day’s play. Traditionally in the Caribbean nowadays, there are slow pitches. It’s difficult to read leading up to the game but you probably may have a better understanding and a better idea on the morning of the game.
On the failure of top order to deliver satisfactorily so far:
I think it’s important for each batsman to play their game. Whether you are a stroke player or someone who’s a lot more patient. You have to work out what your game plan is, what’s best suited for you. I think if you look at our middle order, it’s a bit more free spirited in terms of stroke play and our top order is little bit more conservative, especially at the beginning. But as they spend some time, they tend to flourish.
For me, if I look back at the first two Test matches, the difference is that the top order hasn’t really been getting in. I think they need to work a little harder in getting in. Once they get in, the likes of Bravo and Brathwaite and Samuels, we all know what they can do once they get a start. It’s just about just getting a start, and get themselves going and carry it on from there.
On his performance and role in the team:
For me, I just try to do whatever the team requires. Currently, I’m playing as a bowling all-rounder, I think my first priority is to bowl. I was very pleased with the way I bowled in the last Test, particularly. I didn’t think I got enough wickets, the wickets column wasn’t as fruitful as I wanted it to be. Having said that, the beauty about my spell, for me, was remaining patient. I think on an other day, you may get two or three more wickets.
For me, just contributing to the team’s cause, just make sure every time I bat I score some runs, at least steady the ship. Most of the times, when I’ve batted in recent times, I’ve been under a bit of pressure, I think that brings out the best in me. I like those situations when I am being heavily reliant on. You just knuckle down and play a memorable innings. Ideally, I would love to move up the order and bat higher up for the West Indies in the future. I guess I have to just keep doing my job and when I get the opportunity, make the most of it.
On the disappointing attendance of the crowds for the Test series:
I would love for more people to watch cricket. Recently, you see a lot of people coming out to see the T20 and the one-day stuff. You get a bit more party-like atmosphere, a bit more vibrant. For the last, number of years, the crowds for Test cricket have been really, really down. I’ve been trying to scratch my brain to see ways I can suggest how to get more people in to the stands, but I think good performances is one way to get crowds coming back.
If you look, in England and Australia, they always have people coming out, the die-hard cricket fans, coming out and supporting Test cricket per se. But everywhere else you struggle to get crowds. For me, I just think we just need to perform and if you perform consistently, you get a few more people coming in to support. I wouldn’t know how much more you would have, but I definitely think you will get a few more people coming.