By: Reuters | | Melbourne | February 15, 2015 2:41:53 pm
An “upbeat” West Indies camp are looking forward to the World Cup opener against Ireland on Monday as a fresh beginning and a chance to put difficult times behind them, according to rookie captain Jason Holder. (Full Coverage| Venues | Fixtures)
West Indies head into the match in Nelson, New Zealand, with a shaken-up squad that has failed to gel since an acrimonious dispute over player contracts.
With Dwayne Bravo dumped as captain after being the players’ spokesman during the payments crisis, Barbadian fast bowler Holder has been tasked with leading the two-times world champions out of a funk.
“Obviously you go through tough times in cricket, and it’s important that you just move on from it, take whatever you can from it and just move on positively from it,” Holder told reporters in Nelson on Sunday.
“In a sense we start a new campaign tomorrow. I think it’s important that we all just put our minds on it and look forward to playing good cricket for West Indies.”
At 23 years of age and with only 26 one-day internationals to his credit, Holder was a surprising choice to replace Bravo and has had a tough initiation in charge.
The team came close to suffering a humiliating defeat by minnows Scotland in a warmup at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday, days after being thrashed by England at the same ground.
Despite boasting a talented squad with hard-hitting batsmen and a capable seam attack, few pundits are prepared to back them as certainties to advance to the knock-out rounds, with queries over their motivation.
Holder said the team’s senior players were united in the campaign, however, and played down the poor form in the leadup as a result of trying “different combinations”.
“(The commitment) has been there. It’s been there all the time,” he said.
“The guys have been very energetic. They’ve put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes. Obviously we didn’t get the results we wanted previously, but we are just upbeat to go tomorrow.”