West Indies captain Jason Holder is upbeat about his team’s chances in the upcoming tri-series with South Africa and Australia and backed returning players like Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard to make an impact.
“We’ve got a good squad. Many of the guys were in the World T20 squad and the World Cup, some of whom are carrying very good form from the IPL. We back the guys in the squad,”
Holder said. “We’ve got Sunil Narine, who comes back after the problems with his action, and Kieron Pollard, who I’m sure has a statement to make. So, I’m really looking forward to this series.”
The West Indies Cricket Board stirred a controversy by dropping Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy from the 14-man squad for the tri-nation ODI series but including Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard who had been absent from international cricket for a long time.
The axed trio were victims of the board’s strict policy of not allowing players who did not make themselves available for local 50-over tournaments to represent the international team. They expressed surprise at Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine being in the squad despite not meeting what they considered being one of the WICB’s criteria for selection – playing West Indies’ domestic 50-over competition.
Pollard was injured during the Ram Slam T20 in South Africa in November last year and only regained fitness in time for the 2016 IPL, and Narine was not allowed to play because his bowling action had been declared illegal. He was cleared to bowl by the ICC only in April.
Despite such issues, Holder said that the squad was in good spirits and raring to play.
“The mood is very good. Everybody is up for this series. We’ve had a bit of a break between the last one-day series and this one, so everyone is raring to go.”
West Indies’ last played a one-day series way back in Sri Lanka, in November 2015 which they lost by 3-0. Barring the World T20, they did not play any other international game. The lack of match practice was evident, as they were beaten comprehensively in two practice matches against Barbados Select XI.
“We were a little rusty, probably below par, for the practice games,” Holder admitted. “But we didn’t have the full squad either. We have guys coming back from the IPL, who have been playing cricket, and I expect good things from them.”
West Indies face South Africa in the tournament opener in Guyana.